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Leeds United confirm departure of Javi Gracia – Sam Allardyce appointed

Leeds United have announced the appointment of new manager Sam Allardyce, replacing the outgoing Javi Gracia.

Having narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of last season, Leeds would have been hoping for a smoother ride this year.

However, this campaign has been equally as difficult, and they are in danger of the drop going into the final few weeks.

The Yorkshire club began the season with Jesse Marsch in charge. They started in encouraging fashion, picking up seven points from their opening three outings while scoring seven goals.

However, the American was unable to continue this form. He guided his side to just two wins from the next 17, leaving them outside the relegation zone on goal difference alone. He was later sacked on February 6.

Two weeks later, former Watford boss Javi Gracia was appointed in place of the departing Marsch. He won his first game in the hot seat, defeating fellow strugglers Southampton 1-0 thanks to Junior Firpo’s late strike.

But the Spaniard’s joy was short-lived, and he has been incapable of steering them away from relegation danger. He picked up 11 points from as many games, conceding 28 goals in that time.

This proved to be the end of Gracia’s time at Elland Road. The club have confirmed that he has been dismissed, and replaced by experienced manager Sam Allardyce. He will be joined by former Charlton Athletic boss Karl Robinson.

Allardyce has been managing in the English leagues for over 30 years, taking charge of 11 different clubs. During this time, he has managed over 500 Premier League matches and has earned a reputation as a relegation battle expert.

The 68-year-old enjoyed the best years of his career at Bolton Wanderers from 1999 to 2007. He achieved promotion to the top-flight in his first full campaign in charge and later guided the Trotters into Europe for the first time in their history.

Following this, he had spells at Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United. With the latter, he also took them back into the Premier League.

A short but successful stint at Sunderland was enough to convince the Football Association to hire him as Roy Hodgson’s replacement as the manager of the England national team.

His time with the Three Lions was brief, departing after just 67 days following allegations of malpractice.

Since then, he has spent time at Crystal Palace, Everton and West Bromwich Albion, with all three in danger of relegation. He helped the former two to safety but was unable to keep the Baggies up.

He now arrives at Leeds with the task of taking them away from the trap door. His side currently sit in 17th place, above the drop zone on goal difference with four games remaining.

Allardyce’s first game in charge couldn’t be much tougher, as they face title favourites Manchester City away.

They conclude the season with fixtures against Newcastle United (H), West Ham (A) and Tottenham Hotspur (H).

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