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Confirmed: Javi Gracia to take charge of Leeds against Southampton following visa confirmation

Leeds United’s new head coach Javi Gracia will be in charge for their vital clash against relegation rivals Southampton on Saturday, the club have confirmed.

Gracia’s presence in the home dugout at the weekend was under pressure due to the confirmation of a work permit, which has now been approved.

This will prove a significant boost to 19th placed Leeds – who sit one place above Saturday’s opponents – as they fight for Premier League survival.

The development comes after Southampton confirmed the appointment of Ruben Selles, who was initially serving as caretaker following Nathan Jones’ sacking, as their manager until the end of the season earlier today.

Gracia also brings several coaches with him to Elland Road, all of which the 52-year-old has previously worked with.

A full statement, found on the official club website, reads as follows:

“Leeds United are delighted to announce Javi Gracia’s visa has been confirmed.

“Following this, we are pleased to unveil a number of new additions to the existing backroom staff at Thorp Arch.

“Zigor Aranalde joins as an assistant coach, having served under Gracia in spells at Watford, Valencia and Al Sadd.

“Aranalde enjoyed a long playing career as a full-back in Spain with Eibar, Sevilla and Albacete, then in England with Walsall, Sheffield Wednesday and Carlisle United.

“Mikel Antia also arrives at the club as an assistant coach, having played alongside Gracia at Real Sociedad.

“The former centre-back, also enjoyed stints at Valladolid, Elche and Braga before moving into coaching and also has experience in England with Newcastle United.

“Juan Jose Solla is the final new recruit to the backroom staff, having worked alongside Gracia throughout his managerial career.

“Most recently working at French Ligue 1 side Marseille, he joins the Whites as fitness coach.

“Michael Skubala, who oversaw our two games against Manchester United and the match against Everton, will also remain in the first team setup.

“Paco Gallardo will now take charge of the Under-21s side, replacing Skubala at the helm.”

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