By Noel Whelan

29th Feb, 2020 | 10:00am

Exclusive: Whelan expects Leeds player 'Fans love' to be axed today after Bielsa update

Noel Whelan has tipped Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa to axe Gaetano Berardi from the starting XI against Hull City.

The former Leeds striker and lifelong fan at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes that Kalvin Phillips will replace the Swiss international after missing the win over Middlesbrough.

Bielsa confirmed after the clash at the Riverside that Phillips was a slight doubt to feature against the Tigers but that he was close to playing in Wednesday night’s game.

With Berardi having taken Phillips’ place in the starting XI, natural centre-back Ben White pushing up to fill the void in midfield, Whelan believes the 31-year-old is in the firing line this weekend.

“Come Hull, this weekend, if Kalvin’s fit he’ll be back on the bench – but he doesn’t spit his dummy out, he doesn’t complain, he doesn’t whinge about anything,” Whelan told Football Insider.

“That professionalism, that tenacity, the fans love that sort of player at Leeds.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“(Expecting Phillips to be fit?) Yeah, I am. On Wednesday he was there with the players, out on the field, we kind of thought he might be recovered from the calf kick but I think Marcelo Bielsa is very reluctant to put a player straight back in after an injury.

“The good thing is we got the win without him, we got the win without him again when he came off very early with the injury.”

Berardi has played a bit-part role for Bielsa this season, filling in when the likes of Liam Cooper have been injured.

He has a total of 19 appearances under his belt this term, 13 of which have come in the starting XI.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the club are working on a new signing which can be done for £5million.