Leeds United go into the clash with Preston North End tomorrow night with something of a defensive shortage yet again. The Whites currently have both regular full-backs out injured. Luke Ayling and Laurens De Bock are not expected to be seen again before the end of the current campaign.
What Leeds, therefore, did not need was one of their more experienced players getting sent off. That’s exactly what happened v Sunderland at the weekend. Gaetano Berardi lunged in recklessly on Callum McManaman in the final minutes of the Championship clash. The resulting red card sees him suspended for the next five games.
But could this finally give one Leeds player a chance to salvage something from a fairly drab first season at Elland Road?
Vurnon Anita’s arrival at Leeds in the summer was met with quiet approval. The Dutchman had shown quality during his time with Newcastle United and, as a utility player, he is a good option to have within the squad.
However, he has struggled in West Yorkshire.
Anita has started just 13 league games for Leeds this season. The 29-year-old’s last two starts came at the start of March, two games that Leeds lost 3-0 to Wolves and Middlesbrough.
Since then, when full-backs have been needed, Stuart Dallas has been asked to fill in whilst Tom Pearce was called up from the under-23s.
That said, Anita could certainly get a chance again v Preston tomorrow night.
It would likely be the final opportunity for Anita to prove himself a success at Leeds United. So far he has failed to impress on a regular basis and a big performance this week could cement himself a place in the Leeds first-team until the end of the season.
If he is again ignored and left watching from the bench, then Leeds will likely consider him a flop signing in the summer.