Sources: Leeds turn to Big Sam for Prem survival

Leeds United are set to appoint Sam Allardyce to replace Javi Gracia as manager with four Premier League games remaining in a desperate bid to avoid relegation, sources have told ESPN.

Sources said Gracia, who replaced Jesse Marsch on Feb. 21, was dismissed on Sunday following a five-match winless run, culminating in a 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth on Saturday.

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The run also included a 5-1 loss to Crystal Palace and a 6-1 drubbing at home to Liverpool. The club are 17th in the Premier League table, level on points with Nottingham Forest who occupy the league’s final relegation spot.

Following the defeat on Saturday, the club’s Supporters Advisory Board issued a statement of no confidence in manager Gracia, placing “on record its lack of faith in the current management team at the club.”

Victor Orta, Leeds’ director of football, also left the club amid concerns from the club’s owners about decisions he has made.

“I am deeply saddened by the way that this chapter closes as Victor has been responsible for some of the best moments of my time as owner of Leeds United and I thank him and his people for all they have done in the past six years,” a statement from Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani said.

“However, it is clear that it is time to change direction and therefore we have agreed that Victor will leave the club. I understand supporters are hurt and upset, but now is a time for unity. We have four cup finals left to play this season and working together, I believe we can survive.”

Allardyce returns to the Premier League for the first time since his departure from West Bromwich Albion in 2021. He was appointed in December and sacked six months later after failing to keep the club in England’s top flight.

The 68-year-old led West Ham United in 181 Premier League matches from 2011-15 and also managed one game for England. He also managed Everton, Palace, Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.

Leeds face two tough tests in their final four matches with a trip to Manchester City on Saturday before hosting Newcastle. They also face Allardyce’s former club West Ham in their penultimate game before hosting Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season.

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