Tommaso Bianchi made his comeback from knee surgery with Leeds United’s development squad yesterday – but was back in the treatment room at full-time after suffering a facial injury.
Bianchi completed 63 minutes of a 3-3 draw against Bolton Wanderers’ Under-21s at Thorp Arch, his first appearance since undergoing an operation on the eve of United’s Championship term.
The Italian midfielder played regularly under former head coach Uwe Rosler in pre-season but was forced to go under the knife a week before Leeds’ first league game at home to Burnley.
New boss Steve Evans looked on as Bianchi made his return yesterday but the 26-year-old required fresh treatment after sustaining a cut to his head.
Academy director Paul Hart, however, said Bianchi had shown no reaction to a knee problem which kept him on the sidelines for three months.
“Considering he’s been out for so long I thought he did terrifically well,” Hart said.
“I don’t think there’s any reaction. We’ll need to wait 24 hours but he didn’t complain and he didn’t feel anything in his knee. That’s good news.”
Bianchi was one of a number of senior players who featured against Bolton and Casper Sloth and Souleymane Doukara were both on target in an eventful draw.
Sloth, who has been missing from Leeds’ first-team plans throughout this season, scored twice in the first half while Doukara found the net in the second but a hat-trick from Bolton’s Kaiyne Woolery earned Bolton a point.
Under-21s captain Lewie Coyle missed the game through suspension after his recent red card at Watford and highly-rated left-back Tyler Denton wore the armband instead.
Hart said: “People talked about (Denton) and his reputation but I didn’t see it in the first few games.
“But we’ve done a bit of work with him and in the last two games he’s been absolutely excellent. He’s listened and learned.”
United: Peacock-Farrell, Purver, Skelton, Vann, Denton, Sloth, Phillips (Lyman 63), Bianchi (Parkin 63), Stokes, Mulhern, Doukara. Subs not used: Grimes, McDaid.