By Dan Carter

16th Nov, 2023 | 1:10pm

Leo Hjelde could be given Leeds United lifeline with loan exit and Michael Skubala reunion

Leeds United have got off to an excellent start to the Championship season and are well and truly in the hunt for the automatic promotion places under Daniel Farke.

A number of important players have gone from strength to strength under the management of the German this season, with the likes of Dan James, Crysencio Summerville and Georginio Rutter hitting new heights under Farke’s management.

But one man who has seen his involvement dwindle since the start of the campaign is Leo Hjelde who started the Whites’ opening day draw with Cardiff City but has not made a single Championship appearance since the clash with the Bluebirds.

The 20-year-old was hooked at half-time having failed to win any of his three ground duels in the match, misplacing his only cross and committing two fouls in what was a disastrous afternoon for the left-back [Fotmob].

Hjelde is quite clearly an outcast at Elland Road currently, having been relegated to the Under-21’s side in recent weeks and was last included in one of Farke’s match-day squads all the way back in the first week of September.

A January exit is surely on the cards for the Norwegian, but Leeds United may now have the perfect opportunity to send the 20-year-old out on loan to rediscover his form and confidence after it was announced that former Whites coach Michael Skubala had taken over the reins at Lincoln City.

Skubala had been in charge of the Whites’ Under-21s side over the last few years and has spoken highly of Hjelde previously, as quoted by Leeds Live (30 October) saying: “He’s so versatile, such a good technician and he’s so calm. I think he can play left-back, he can play left-centre half as well.

“I think he’s quite fortunate that he can do it all, but I think his ultimate best position is left of a three. He’s a good, young talent.”

Should Leeds want to send Hjelde out on a temporary deal to rediscover the form that he found while on loan with Rotherham last season, a move to Lincoln under the management of a coach who clearly rates the 20-year-old highly could be an excellent move for all parties.

The defender is unlikely to want to drop a decision to League One, but the standard of football will have a much greater impact on his development than another six months of youth team football would.

A good loan spell could see the Norwegian force his way back into Farke’s thinking and the opportunity to work with a manager that is openly fond of the defender could be far too good to miss and could well save Hjelde’s Leeds United career.

In other Leeds United news, one journalist has slammed the 49ers and Farke for allowing Sam Greenwood to depart Elland Road