GAETANO Berardi is “a couple of weeks” away from returning to training – with the right-back remaining Leeds United’s only injury casualty ahead of Saturday’s Championship clash at Nottingham Forest.
Swiss international Berardi injured his hamstring in United’s season opener at Queens Park Rangers, with the defender told to expect up to six weeks on the sidelines following a scan.
But Whites head coach Garry Monk has reported the 28-year-old to be making good progress, raising hopes that the defender will be able to make a quick return to the first team after the forthcoming international break.
“He’s coming on,” said Monk of Berardi. “He’s still a couple of weeks away from coming back into training but he’s progressing nicely and healing nicely.
“I’m looking forward to him coming back into the squad.”
The future at Leeds for midfielder Toumani Diagouraga, though, appears somewhat more bleak with Monk admitting the 29-year-old was simply not selected as part of his 18-man squad for Tuesday night’s EFL Cup trip to Luton Town.
Monk made wide-scale changes for the game – swapping all 11 outfield positions and giving Luke Murphy a rare start in midfield.
Diagouraga, though, failed to even make the substitutes’ bench and the midfielder is now being linked with a move north of the border to Rangers, managed by Diagouraga’s former boss at Brentford in Mark Warburton.
Monk confirmed that Diagouraga was available for selection on Tuesday but said: “I just selected the squad that I felt was going to try and win the game and it proved right.”
Monk’s men are 19th in the table but looking to net a third victory in quick succession, with last Saturday’s 2-0 win at Championship hosts Sheffield Wednesday – United’s first league win of the season – followed by Tuesday night’s 1-0 triumph at Luton Town in the EFL Cup.
Forest also progressed to the third round of the EFL Cup the same evening as goals from Jamie Paterson and Lars Veldwijk sealed a 2-1 success at Millwall.
Forest – who sit 11th in the Championship table – edged a 4-3 verdict at home to Wigan in the league three days earlier. Forest have already conceded ten goals in four league games but have scored eight.