Gaetano Berardi is set to resume training with Leeds United this week – but the club are delaying Liam Cooper’s comeback in a bid to prevent a recurrence of his calf strain.
The defenders are yet to feature in pre-season due to injuries sustained in the early stages but Berardi is in light training and pencilled into start working with the rest of Monk’s squad ahead of Saturday’s friendly against Atalanta.
The Swiss full-back suffered two ankle ligament problems last season but his current leg injury is unrelated to those and Monk hopes to have him available for the first game of the Championship term on August 7.
Cooper, however, will be given longer to recover after suffering a strain which affected Monk during his own playing career.
Monk said: “Berra’s very much closer than Coops. He’s back out on the field and very near to training.
“Coops is a bit longer – a little bit by design to be honest. I’ve suffered the same injury, a slight tear in his calf, but the position it’s in means you can come back too quick.
“I learned the lesson in my career because that’s what I did. I was out for another six weeks on top.
“He might be ready to start again now but I think it’s better just to give him a bit longer. It’s better that than another six weeks out.”
Monk has been short of defensive cover in their absence and United are looking to sign both a new centre-back and a new right-back before the season begins.
“It’s not an ideal situation for them and whenever you miss bits of pre-season, you’re on catch up,” Monk said. “But I know what I need to do with players in this situation – like a mini pre-season.
“You can get them back up to a fitness level which is close to the group but of course until the players are training and playing games they won’t get to where they need to be.”