Dave Hockaday: Leeds United 'excess baggage' to be trimmed

Leeds United's new head coach Dave Hockaday says the Championship club need a "tight-knit" squad this season.

The 56-year-old former Forest Green Rovers boss took charge last week, but owner Massimo Cellino still wants to appoint a director of football.

Since finishing 15th last term, Leeds have released 13 players, leaving just 18 first-teamers under contract.

Stewart not Elland Road bound?

Leeds winger Cameron Stewart in action against Yeovil

Cameron Stewart played 11 times on loan with Leeds, but the club hope he will now not join permanently, as initially agreed.

"The new structure is that Leeds need to be leaner. There's excess baggage in every department," said Hockaday.

"We're going to strip back to the bones and then start fleshing things out. I want us to have a tight-knit group where everyone has each other's back."

One player who may not be part of that group is winger Cameron Stewart, with Leeds still believed to be attempting to cancel a deal to sign the 23-year-old when his Hull City contract expires on 30 June.

The transfer was agreed in January under previous owners Gulf Finance House, and former manager Brian McDermott.

Meanwhile, Leeds have confirmed they are under a transfer embargo, but expect it to be lifted soon, as their bank accounts are now unfrozen.

United's players reported back to the club on Thursday, when coaches Benito Carbone and Neil Redfearn helped lead training, and the squad is heading to Italy for a pre-season camp.

"We finished 15th last season - that isn't good enough for Leeds. I'm hopeful we'll have fresh faces in Italy," Hockaday said.

"It's my job to find out what makes each player tick, asses where to strengthen and form a team that'll work hard and make everyone proud."