PAUL Heckingbottom says he could not resist the lure of Leeds United – but his switch across Yorkshire has angered Barnsley.

Leeds announced Heckingbottom as their new head coach less than a week after he signed a new contract at Oakwell.

The 40-year-old former Bradford and Sheffield Wednesday defender, whose past clubs also include Harrogate Town and Scarborough, had been in charge of Barnsley since February 2016 and only agreed new terms with them on Friday.

Yet he has now swapped that rolling contract for an 18-month deal at Elland Road to replace Thomas Christiansen, who was dismissed on Sunday.

Predictably the news did not go down well at Barnsley, who said in a statement they were "thoroughly disappointed".

Chief executive Gauthier Ganaye added: "Yes, it was unexpected. Yes, it has come during an already complicated period. Yes, it will make things more difficult short term – but our club is full of resources and it is certainly not dependent on one man alone."

Heckingbottom's backroom staff of Jamie Clapham, Nathan Winder and Alex Bailey will also be joining him at Leeds, while under-23s coach Paul Harsley has been put in caretaker charge of Barnsley.

Ahead of his first training session with his new players, Heckingbottom said: "I can't wait to get started. It's a big opportunity at a big football club and it's something that you work hard for.

"What appealed was the size of the club. When I spoke to Victor (Orta, director of football) and the owners, they were aligned with what I was thinking and how I liked to work.

"I'm presuming that's the reason they thought I was right for the job as well, because I'm aligned with how they like to work, so hopefully that will be good for us going forward."

Christiansen was sacked soon after a 4-1 home defeat by Cardiff which made it seven matches without a win.

That poor sequence included an embarrassing third-round FA Cup exit at the hands of League Two minnows Newport.

Leeds began the season with a seven-game unbeaten run, raising hopes of a promotion push, but they have since slipped to 10th in the Championship.

Heckingbottom will be expected to swap Barnsley's relegation battle for an assault on the play-offs – Leeds are six points behind sixth-placed Bristol City.

He will begin his tenure with a Yorkshire derby at Sheffield United on Saturday, with Barnsley visiting Elland Road on April 21.