By Will Butcher
Gaetano Berardi’s return from injury will be the final piece in Garry Monk’s defensive jigsaw, as Leeds play host to Barnsley on Saturday.
The 28-year-old has been sidelined since the Yorkshire giants’ first game of the season after going off injured with a hamstring injury during Leeds’ 3-0 loss to QPR.
Although Berardi is not 100 per cent match fit, manager Garry Monk should look to risk him as he will provide more defensive stability at the back against free scoring Barnsley, who have managed 20 goals in just 10 games.
Luke Ayling would be the man to drop out if Monk opts for Berardi, after the Arsenal youth product was caught out of position for Bristol City’s winner on Tuesday night.
Elsewhere, the return of teenage sensation Ronaldo Vieira would give Leeds’ midfield some toughness, after Monk confirmed that he had returned to training. He should replace homegrown star Kalvin Phillips alongside Eunan O’Kane.
Sweden international Pontus Jansson should be risked at centre-back despite going off at half-time against Bristol City, after impressing alongside fellow loanee and stand-in captain Kyle Bartley.
A win for Leeds could see them move into the top half of the table, but a loss could just as easily see Monk’s side slip towards the Championship relegation zone.
In other Leeds news, Monk has responded to allegations made against owner Massimo Cellino.