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Reliable journalist: First-team return for key duo as Leeds face Serie A side

By Will Butcher

Leeds stars Gaetano Berardi and Stuart Dallas will return for the Whites as Garry Monk prepares to field a strong side against Atalanta on Saturday.

The friendly against the Serie A side will be Leeds’ last before Monk takes charge of his first competitive game against QPR on 7 August.

Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Lee Sobot reported that the senior duo will return to action. Long-term absentee Liam Cooper, though, has been ruled out of a pre-season return with Monk still optimistic that the centre-back could return before next Saturday.

Former Cagliari defender Gabriele Perico, who is on-trial at Elland Road, could also make an appearance for the Whites as he tries to convince the former Swansea manager to offer him a new contract.

Swiss international Berardi had been sidelined with strained ankle ligaments and was a doubt to feature in any pre-season friendlies, but Sobot confirmed that the former Sampdoria right-back could return.

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Other injury worry Liam Cooper is still said to be recovering from a slight muscle tear that occurred during Leeds’ tour of Ireland.

Stuart Dallas returns to the Yorkshire side after being given an extended break because of his Euro 2016 exploits this summer with Northern Ireland.

32-year-old Perico was expected to feature in Leeds’ Under-21 side against Farsley, but Monk decided against that and is now ready to make a decision on the former Cagliari right-back after Saturday’s friendly.

In other Leeds news, Premier League clubs are circling as they look to sign this wantaway star.