Ipswich Town v Leeds United: Bellusci recovery creates competition at centre-back

Steve Evans is facing a difficult decision over his choice of centre-backs tomorrow after Giuseppe Bellusci was declared fit for Leeds United's clash with Ipswich Town.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 11th January 2016, 2:30 pm
Updated Monday, 11th January 2016, 2:34 pm
Giuseppe Bellusci.
Giuseppe Bellusci.

Bellusci limped out of Saturday’s 2-0 win over Rotherham United with cramp but passed a fitness test at Thorp Arch yesterday and travelled with the squad to Suffolk today. The Italian turned in a convincing performance against Rotherham having returned to United’s starting line-up after two games on the bench.

Despite a long and steady run in the team, Bellusci was replaced by captain Sol Bamba after an error in Leeds’ 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on December 27. Bamba, however, was culpable for one of the concessions in a 2-2 draw with Derby County and struggled throughout a 1-1 draw with MK Dons on January 2.

Leeds are bidding to close a nine-point gap on sixth-placed Ipswich at Portman Road tomorrow and Evans said: “That’s a decision which has to be made.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“The nice thing for me is that we’ve got competition. Sometimes that raises performances levels more than anything. When I came here no-one outside the club seemed to have a good word to say about Giuseppe but apart from the odd little wobble he’s been excellent.

“He made a mistake at Forest but Sol didn’t have his best game against MK Dons either. Liam Cooper’s played a lot of football too. I need to think about all of them.”

Evans is also considering his options at right-back after watching Under-21s captain Lewie Coyle produce an impressive full debut against Rotherham. United’s head coach said: “I’m so proud of him.

“He started nervously and I had to give him a few reminders verbally but I was really pleased with him in the second half.

“He stepped up and became the cultured full-back we hoped he would become. It’s easy to say he’s played well so he stays in but Scott Wootton was doing very well and has probably had his best games in recent times. There’s options there.”