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Heckingbottom singles Peacock-Farrell out for praise
Sunday, 8th Apr 2018 12:36 by Tim Whelan

Our head coach was impressed by our young keeper’s performance against Sunderland yesterday, but was left frustrated by the latest dismissal of Berardi.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell could do nothing to prevent Sunderland taking the lead in the second half as Paddy McNair fired a shot past him, but then managed to keep Leeds in the game with a string of saves, one in particular from Ashley Fletcher drawing praise from visiting manager Chris Coleman. "What a save from their keeper, point blank header, nothing wrong with that, it was an incredible save. He played well."

And our own boss also sounded impressed at the post-match press conference. "He's done well His personality is showing on the pitch. he has a good calmness about him. We want to improve his game management and decision making, but he’s making good saves. Because of the highlights reel, both goalkeepers will look world class.”

"The highlights reel will show both goalkeepers will be getting a move after that! It was one of them where there was lots of action for them and Bailey pulled three good saves out of good moments in the game as well for us.” But the Heck wouldn’t be drawn when he was asked whether BPF has done enough to become the first choice keeper next season.

"He's got to keep improving, he's got to keep pushing." I’ve thought that Bailey has to command his area a bit more, but it must be hard for a young keeper to deliver a rollocking to the more experienced defenders in front of him. But I wouldn’t be worried about him being the number one next season provided we signed another experienced keeper as backup, as we’ve got other areas of the squad where we’re more in need of big signings.

It’s no surprise that the Heck was less happy about Berardi’s dismissal, the latest in a long line of red cards that have undermined our season. The Swiss hard man had both feet off the ground as he went in for a late tackle, but after talking to the player our head coach concluded that it wasn’t a malicious challenge but just mistimed.

“I’ve questioned ‘has he lost his head and his discipline?’ but he’s genuinely going for the ball. He’s accepted it was a bad tackle. I’ve not seen it back. I’m just relaying what Bera’s said. We’ll have a look at it, but he’s genuinely said it’s not through frustration, it was genuinely going for the ball.” The sending off has brought Berardi’s season to an end, as it’s his third dismissal of the season, so an extra two games will be added to the usual mandatory three game ban.

And as you would expect, Chis Coleman was quicker to condemn Berardi "That is a straight red. The one earlier on Lynden, if you don't jump out the way I dread to think. The Callum McManaman challenge is right down his shin from his knee to his ankle, he has studmarks. The kid got it wrong, the challenge. It was a straight red."

Berardi’s dismissal came at a time when Leeds looked like going on to win the game. We’d had the better of the first half against a poor Sunderland side, only to be rocked by their goal and then needing our 20 year-old keeper to keep us in the game. But after Hernandez scored a superb equaliser we seemed more likely to take the points, with an Alioski header coming down off the bar without crossing the line and a Saiz free kick smacking against the post.

But once we went down to 10 men the Heck was forced to shore up his defence by sacrificing Saiz in order to send Anita on as a replacement full-back, and at that point we were left to settle for a draw. Not that it really matters as we drift towards a mid-table finish. Effectively we’re now into an extended pre-season for 2018/19, and performances are more important as the Heck needs to decide which players will be part of his plans and which need to be shipped out.

Yesterday Bailey Peacock-Farrell made another big stride towards claiming the goalkeeping spot for next season, while we have to wonder if we’re ever going to see Berardi in a Leeds shirt again.

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Photo: Action Images

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