Stuart Dallas and Gaetano Berardi step up Leeds United comeback as senior stars see Under-23s action

Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi returned to action on Friday evening.Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi returned to action on Friday evening.
Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi returned to action on Friday evening.
Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi and winger Stuart Dallas stepped up their comeback from injury on Friday evening for the Whites development side.

United's Under-23s were in action against Notts County in Group H of the Premier League Cup with Marcelo Bielsa - who was in attendance alongside sporting director Victor Orta - opting to make the pair available for the clash at Guiseley under the lights.

Berardi was making his second attempt at a comeback after suffering a severe hamstring tear against Ipswich Town in late October that ruled him out for up to four months.

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The 30-year-old completed 45 minutes of the Whites 3-2 development team win over Southampton last month but was substituted just before the break with a minor recurrence of the issue.

Dallas has also been missing for over two months after fracturing his foot in United's Championship victory over Sheffield United in early December at Bramall Lane before he made his return to three weeks ago.

The Northern Ireland international suffered a fresh ankle injury though and was initially ruled out for a further six weeks but made an early return at Nethermoor.

Berardi and Dallas both came through the opening 30 minutes of the victory unscathed as the duo tasted their first competitive action for some months before their planned substitutions.

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Izzy Brown was also among the senior players to be involved as he continues to step up his fitness levels having missed the last 13 months of action due to a torn ACL.

The 22-year-old has been included in Bielsa's previous two Championship match day squads but is yet to make his Whites bow since joining the club on a season-long loan from Chelsea last summer.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Tyler Roberts were also handed more game time as the first-team duo completed 90 minutes.

Berardi's last action of the evening saw him clip a perfectly-weighted ball over the top of the County defence to find Brown who was brought down by onrushing goalkeeper Max Culverwell leaving referee Paul Gibbons no option but to point to the spot.

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The playmaker hauled himself up to send the stopper the wrong way and open the scoring to give United a deserved lead.

County, though, levelled after the break with a wonderful free-kick from striker Will Patching before a Ryan Edmondson strike three minutes from time sealed all three points for Leeds..