Leeds United boosted by return of defensive duo

Gaetano Berardi.
Gaetano Berardi.
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Gaetano Berardi and Matthew Pennington have handed Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen a significant boost by resuming training.

The defenders are closing in on a return to action after missing most of the first month of the season through injury.

Berardi and Pennington were hurt in United’s 3-2 win over Bolton Wanderers on the opening weekend and forced to miss the following six matches.

A dislocated shoulder saw Berardi stretchered from the pitch before half-time at the Macron Stadium while Pennington limped off with an ankle problem an hour into his United debut.

Pennington was pencilled into resume light training during the international break while Christiansen expected Berardi to be back in contention early this month.

Leeds rode countless absences during August to finish the first month of the season unbeaten and placed third in the Championship.

Matthew Pennington.

Matthew Pennington.

Liam Cooper sat out of the club’s 0-0 draw at home to Fulham with a minor problem while striker Caleb Ekuban is facing an extended spell on the sidelines after damaging a foot on his league debut at Sunderland on August 19.

Midfielder Eunan O’Kane, meanwhile, was sent home from the Republic of Ireland’s camp ahead of their World Cup qualifiers with a groin injury.

O’Kane, who missed two months of last season with a pelvic issue, has started all five of United’s league games so far but faces a battle to be fit for Saturday’s clash with Burton.