Ben Parker has told LS11 that the likes of Gjanni Alioski, Barry Douglas and Gaetano Berardi have been unlucky not to play more for Leeds United this season, with the former Whites defender suggesting that the latter has been fantastic when he has featured.
It is unsurprising, and yet still remarkable, that Marcelo Bielsa has handed just 18 players a start in the Championship this season.
Bielsa has rarely made a change to his side unless his hand has been forced by injury or suspension. And obviously, that has meant that some members of the squad have had to be extremely patient.
Berardi, Douglas and Alioski are amongst those to have been regular fixtures on the bench in recent times.
The North Macedonia international has not started any of Leeds’s last three games. Meanwhile, Berardi and Douglas have started just 13 league games between them this term.
And with Leeds taking seven points and conceding just one goal in their last three fixtures, Parker suggested that Bielsa is now working with his strongest back four. But he expressed some sympathy for the three currently out of the picture.
“You have to say the back four at the moment, with Ayling right-back, Ben White, Liam Cooper, Stuart Dallas, that looks the back four to go with at the moment,” he told LS11.
“You have to say Berardi’s been unlucky this year. When he’s played, I thought he’s been fantastic. At times, Alioski’s played well. Barry Douglas, start of the season, he was doing well at left-back. You’ve had everyone chipping in but you have to say, at the moment, that back four looks solid.”
TBR View – Leeds fans won’t take current back four for granted
Berardi, Douglas and Alioski have featured less prominently. But it would not surprise Leeds fans at all if at least one of the trio was soon given another chance.
The Whites have seemed to have dreadful luck with injury during Bielsa’s tenure. And of course, Alioski replaced Kalvin Phillips at the weekend when the midfielder sustained a knock.
As Parker notes, none of the three players have let the side down this term. Even Douglas, who has struggled at times since arriving, has not exactly played badly at any stage this season.
Nevertheless, many Leeds fans would be forgiven for hoping that none of the trio are needed during the remaining months of the campaign.
It would certainly be a fantastic sign for the Whites’ promotion hopes should they manage to keep the current back four together for the rest of the season.