Leeds United defender Gaetano Berardi could be set for a return to action as early as Friday’s Championship clash against Sheffield Wednesday, according to Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Phil Hay.

The Switzerland international left Elland Road on crutches following the 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough last month.

Leeds did not reveal precise details of the injury but he has missed the subsequent games against Millwall, Preston North End and Birmingham City.

New manager Marcelo Bielsa has favoured using Berardi as a centre-back alongside Liam Cooper and may well be keen to reunite the pair against the Owls later in the week.

Pontus Jansson has deputised in the defender’s absence and could not prevent the Whites falling to a first league defeat of the season against Birmingham on Saturday.

Berardi has now played 121 matches for Leeds since joining from Sampdoria in 2014 and had only once played for the club at centre-back before this season.

Hay was responding to a question from a Leeds fans on Twitter about whether forward Kemar Roofe or the versatile defender might be fit to feature against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.

“More chance of Berardi than Roofe by the sounds of things but will find out later this week,” he said.

Leeds’ squad is stretched at the moment with Roofe, Patrick Bamford, Izzy Brown and Pablo Hernandez also unavailable.

After Berardi was injured against Middlesbrough, reports suggested he would be out for almost a month, potentially missing five matches.

Having already missed three, a return against Wednesday would be a boost for Leeds who would have him back earlier than expected.

If Berardi does not return on Friday, the club will earmark next Saturday’s trip to Hull for his comeback – a game which Roofe may also end up targeting for his own return to action.

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