Leeds United Suffer Blow As Key Figure Departs

Leeds United under-21 head coach Michael Skubala has agreed to take on the vacant managerial role at Lincoln City, the League One club have announced.

The Imps have been on the search for a new manager since parting company with Mark Kennedy last month, with Tom Shaw having taken the reins on an interim basis. After a poor run of form throughout September and early October, the 36-year-old has steadied the ship somewhat and the East Midlands club are currently ninth in the third tier, four points off the play-off places.

Former boss Danny Cowley was heavily linked with a return to Sincil Bank, whilst League of Ireland pair Damien Duff and Stephen Bradley were also reportedly in the frame. However, after a near month-long search, Lincoln have finally settled on their man, with Skubala taking control of first-team affairs.

It is the 41-year-old’s first step into management, having been in charge of Leeds’ under-21 setup since August 2022. However, he did take over at Elland Road on a temporary basis in February this year following the sacking of Jesse Marsch. He oversaw three Premier League games before Javi Garcia was drafted in, picking up his solitary point in a 2-2 draw against rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Previous roles have included England under-18s and a football advisor to UEFA.

Speaking upon the announcement, Skubala said;

“It feels great to be here, it has been a really warm welcome and I’m looking forward to getting going.

“I’ve been here for a couple of games in the past few weeks and I’ve seen how important the fans are for the young players and how they can push the team.

“I’m really excited to work hard with the players every day, to meet the fans and be part of Lincoln City. I feel something here that I felt when I moved to Leeds, which is how important the supporters can be to the club.”

The excitement was echoed by City chairman Clive Nates, who said;

“We have been tracking Michael for some time as he is one of the most exciting young coaches in the game right now, and had a robust recruitment process to ensure he was the right person for us at this time. We had a list of 15 coaches we thought would be a good fit, and Michael impressed as we went through the interviews. The warm wishes from Leeds United show how respected and popular he was there.

“We see this as a progressive appointment – Michael shares our ethos on player development, style of play and ambition. He has a clear vision for how he implements this and a track record of developing talented young technically-talented players such as Levi Colwell of Chelsea and Rico Lewis of Manchester City while he was in the England structure, as well as Archie Gray and Crysensio Summerville at Leeds United U21s.

“We’re also really pleased that Tom Shaw will stay as a key part of the coaching structure as assistant head coach. He is a highly capable coach, and both we and Michael believe he will bring strong continuity and support to the new head coach.”

Lincoln are back in action this weekend when they take on high-flying Stevenage at the Lamex Stadium, whereas Leeds’ under-21 side are without a fixture until early December, when they take on Newcastle United.

Writer’s View

Lincoln are a club known for appointing from the left field and this appointment will come as a major shock to Imps fans. However, he is highly rated at Elland Road and his departure will leave a gaping hole in their academy setup.

Leeds will be disappointed to lose such a key figure, but it represents a huge opportunity for Skubala. This could be a risk for the League One club, but they will be hoping that he is the man to steer them into the Championship after Shaw’s admirable job of keeping them within touching distance of the play-off spots.


About Jamie Ward 614 Articles
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