By Saikat Mandal

23rd Feb, 2023 | 10:01am

Ex-Newcastle United coach Mikel Antia to join Javi Gracia team at Leeds United

Javi Gracia will bring three new faces with him at Leeds United as part of the coaching set-up, and one of them is former La Liga defender Mikel Antia, according to Leeds Live.

Zigor Aranalde and Juan Solla previously worked with Gracia at various clubs, but Antia has not worked with the Spaniard on a coaching basis before.

However, Antia played with Gracia at Real Sociedad and he previously worked in the Premier League as a part of Rafa Benitez’s staff at Newcastle United.

Interestingly, he has been out of work for a while. He left Major League Soccer outfit Charlotte FC after head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez was sacked in May 2022.

New set up

It will be a completely new set-up under Gracia who is still waiting for the work permit. 

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Michael Skubala, who worked as a caretaker boss following the sacking of Jesse Marsch, will continue in a first-team role under Gracia. 

Paco Gallardo will now charge of the under-21 side and he will be assisted by Michael Pujdak. 

Likewise, Chris Armas and Marcos Abad will continue to work in senior roles as the new manager’s backroom staff. 

It seems Antia has got a lot of experience, and he can bring fresh ideas having worked under Benitez. Let’s hope that the paperwork goes through smoothly and that Gracia can take charge of the Whites’ training at the earliest. 

Leeds have lost three out of their last four league games and have dropped down to the relegation zone. They face relegation-threatened Southampton at Elland Road on Saturday (25 February) and it’s a must-win game for them. 

The Whites initially wanted to stick with Skubala after missing out on several first-choice targets, but following their 1-0 defeat against Everton last week, the club decided to bring in a permanent manager. 

In other Leeds United news, the club are now leading the race to sign an in-demand young attacking talent from a European giant.