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Defender's return a welcome relief for Leeds after Brighton horrow show

Giuseppe Bellusci is eligible to return this weekend after serving a two-match ban.

Leeds United will be boosted for this weekend's clash with Bolton Wanderers by the return of centre-back Guiseppe Bellusci after a two-match ban, and the Italian's return cannot come soon enough.

Bellusci missed the draw with Fulham and the 4-0 thrashing at Brighton and Hove Albion after picking up his tenth yellow card of the season in the FA Cup defeat against Watford, thus activating an automatic ban.

Prior to those fixtures, and with the 26-year-old in the team, Steve Evans' side had kept two clean sheets in their last four Championship matches, including holding promotion challengers Middlesbrough to a goalless draw last time. 

In contrast, in his absence United have picked up just a single point and conceded five goals in their last two, including being torn apart in the first half by the Seagulls on Monday night.

Leeds were atrocious at the Amex Stadium from the off, and after Scott Wootton gave away the penalty which led to the first goal after 18 minutes their defence simply fell apart.

Liam Cooper and Sol Bamba looked like centre-backs that had never seen each other before, let alone played together, and to say that Brighton were able to cut through them like a knife through butter would be pretty harsh on the butter.

Bellusci may not be the most dominant of central defenders, and he may need to work on reducing his yellow card count, but he absolutely must be restored to the side by Evans this weekend.

He has shown few signs of repeating his horror performance in the 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough in September and has forged something of a genuine partnership with Cooper, something that Bamba has just not managed, and, whether you like the Italian or not it is pretty clear to see why he was keeping the club captain out of the team before his suspension.

Evans said of Bellusci last month after a run of impressive performances and improved defensive displays, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post: "He’s another one who needs to feel valued. There’s a good defender in there, people are starting to see that, and as much as I’ve been critical of our defending this season I think it’s been decent recently."

There's a reason that there was reported to be interested in the former Catania man's signature in January, and that same reason is why any approaches were knocked back by Evans - Leeds are a different proposition at the back with Bellusci in the side.

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