By Alex Stevens
Gaetano Berardi is back in training as he steps up his comeback from injury.
In a major boost to Leeds ahead of their Championship clash against Ipswich on Saturday, the full-back was pictured in action at the club’s Thorpe Arch training headquarters.
The official Leeds Twitter account heralded the imminent return of Berardi after a six-week spell on the sidelines.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) September 23, 2016
This comes after manager Garry Monk claimed on Thursday that Berardi is week away from being ready for selection.
The Switzerland international has failed to feature for the Yorkshire giants since the opening game of the season, after limping off with a hamstring injury inside the first 20 minutes of Leeds’ dismal 3-0 loss to QPR.
He had initially been expected to be in contention for a return this week but Monk hinted at a setback in the 28-year-old’s recovery and that he might need to play for the Under-23s before making his senior comeback.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Leeds’ home game against Ipswich on Saturday, Monk was quoted by Leeds’ official Twitter account as saying that Berardi is not ready to return.
“Berardi is still a couple of weeks away from being ready for selection,” Monk said, as quoted by Leeds’ official Twitter account. “He might need some Under-23s game time.”
— Leeds United (@LUFC) September 22, 2016
Berardi had been scheduled return to to training on Monday night, but failed to make the bench during Leeds’ EFL Cup third round tie against Blackburn as Monk’s men secured their third win on the bounce thanks to Chris Wood’s late winner in a 1-0 win.
The former Sampdoria right-back may find it difficult to slot back into the Leeds first team following the good impression made by new signing Luke Ayling after his £750,000 move from Championship rivals Bristol City.
Leeds will be looking to make it four wins on the spin against Ipswich on Saturday at Elland Road, as a win could take them into the top half of the Championship table for the first time this season.
In other Leeds news, Monk has claimed this striker is playing very well despite criticism.