By Alex Stevens
Gaetano Berardi has been told he must “fight his way back” into the Leeds team by Garry Monk after being overlooked in midweek.
The right-back has fully recovered from the hamstring injury that has sidelined him since the opening day of the season.
Berardi has built up his fitness with a number of run-outs for the Leeds Under-23s side, and was captain of the side that were thrashed by Hull last Friday.
But the Switzerland international’s hopes of a first-team comeback were dashed on Tuesday night when he did not even make the 18-man squad for the 1-1 draw against Wigan.
Luke Ayling retained the right-back spot, with Lewis Coyle chosen on the bench as defensive back-up.
Manager Monk explained what Berardi must do to earn a recall.
“He is competing in training, as they all are, ” Monk said on Thursday afternoon, as quoted by the personal Twitter account of Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Lee Sobot. “Berra is there to fight his way back into the squad and team.”
— Lee Sobot (@LeeSobotYEP) October 20, 2016
Berardi, 28, started the campaign as Monk’s first choice right-back, but Garry Monk subsequently signed Ayling from Bristol City and he has started the team’s last 12 league matches.
Berardi, who completed a move from Sampdoria in 2014, does have a history of injuries after he was sidelined by ankle ligament damage twice last season and was forced to miss parts of pre-season with a thigh strain.
Monk’s side have dropped to 13th in the table after taking just one point from their last two league fixtures.
In other Leeds team news, a 25-year-old has signed for the club after agreeing terms.