Official: Leeds 28-year-old to make Monday comeback for the youth team
By Alex Stevens
Gaetano Berardi is on the comeback trail on Monday night as he prepares to play for the club’s Under-23s at Elland Road.
The official Leeds website reports that the 28-year-old will feature as an over-age player as he lines up alongside the youngsters as they host Bristol City in a 7.45pm kick-off.
Berardi is stepping up his recovery after a six-week spell on the sidelines.
This comes after the full-back was pictured in action last Thursday at the club’s Thorpe Arch training headquarters training with the senior squad.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) September 23, 2016
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.
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He had initially been expected to be in contention for a return last week but Garry 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’ 1-0 win 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.”
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.
In other Leeds news, Monk has claimed this striker is playing very well despite criticism.