Leeds appoint unheralded Hockaday as head coach

LONDON (Reuters) - Leeds United have appointed David Hockaday, who has never managed in any of England's four professional divisions, as their new head coach, the cash-strapped English second-tier football club announced on Thursday.

Hockaday previously managed non-league Forest Green Rovers but left the club after losing seven of eight games during the opening months of last season.

He signed a two-year contract with Leeds to replace manager Brain McDermott, who left the club in May.

"The 56-year-old has signed a two-year contract and will assume overall responsibility for the coaching staff and first team playing squad with immediate effect," a statement read on the club's website.

The appointment comes during a period of major upheaval for the former English champions, with Italian Massimo Cellino completing his takeover of the club in April.

The businessman, who sold Italian club Cagliari last month, bought a 75 percent stake in Leeds after they made losses of 9.5 million pounds in the 2012-13 season.

Cellino spoke of his intention to take control of player recruitment and contracts earlier this month, and move away from the role of a traditional manager toward a coach that concentrates on preparing the team.

The surprise appointment of relatively-unknown Hockaday, who has held coaching roles at Premier League clubs Southampton and Leicester City previously, appears to fit the mould of Cellino's vision.

"David arrives at Elland Road with a vast amount of coaching experience and was integral to the management team at Watford that gained promotion to the Premier League in 2006," said the statement.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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