Leeds United head coach Steve Evans has suggested to the club’s official website that he rates Gaetano Berardi highly.
Berardi, who plays as a right-back or as a left-back, is on the sidelines at the moment with an ankle injury.
The Swiss defender is recovering well, and Evans is looking forward to his return to full fitness.
“Berardi is edging closer – he’s been working really hard with the medical team this week, twisting, turning, running and going through all the things that you need to do,” the Scotsman told Leeds’s official website. “He’s done the maximum time for the recovery and we’re hoping that we’ll have him back on the pitch in full training next week.
“He was one of our best players before he went out injured – he was in top form and you always miss a player with those characteristics. We’d like him back sooner rather than later but we’ve given him the maximum time to be ready.”
Berardi has featured in 17 Championship matches for Leeds so far this season, creating seven chances in the process.
The former Sampdoria defender has a pass accuracy of 75% and a shot accuracy of 29%, and has won 29 headers, three dribbles and 29 tackles.
Leeds are 16th in the Championship table at the moment with 36 points from 30 matches. The West Yorkshire outfit are 14 points behind sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday and 11 points above the relegation zone.
The Whites will return to action on Monday evening when they take on automatic promotion contenders Middlesbrough at Elland Road in the Championship.