NEIL WARNOCK is hoping Leeds United will start to see the best of Luciano Becchio again after the striker’s recent double from the bench.
The Argentinian is the Championship’s second top scorer behind Burnley’s Charlie Austin, a striker whom Leeds must look to keep quiet tonight.
But that did not stop Warnock from resting Becchio for the last two games after feeling the team needed a change.
Becchio has since responded by scoring a penalty against Southampton in the Capital One Cup just a few moments after coming off the bench and then the equaliser at Brighton in Friday’s 2-2 draw.
That strike at the Amex Stadium, his 10th in all competitions, may have been extremely fortunate as it came via a deflection off his leg after Michael Brown had drilled the ball goalwards.
But to Warnock, the fact Becchio was in the opposition penalty area was a heartening one.
The United manager said: “I was delighted for Luciano that he came on in the last two games and got a couple of goals.
“What we have to hope those goals do is get him back to his best.
“It wasn’t happening for him a couple of weeks ago and that is why I took him out of the side. Because he was struggling, he was dropping deeper and deeper. And that was no good to the team.
“We need him up front turning defences. As a team, we haven’t been firing on all cylinders so Luciano has not been alone.
“But now we are hoping his two goals can help him. The effort is there but that bit of quality he can provide has been lacking.
“It has not been a case of having to rollick him or anything like that. Just get the message across as to what the team needs and I think it has sunk in.”
Tom Lees (eye injury) is a major doubt for tonight’s trip to Turf Moor, a ground where Leeds have enjoyed tremendous success in recent years with four wins from their last five visits.
United have also done the double over the Lancashire club in the last two seasons.
Warnock added: “I can’t ask for any more from these lads than they are giving me at the moment. They are giving me absolutely everything.
“Some are having to play out of position and some are having to play with niggling injuries. But the effort they are giving me is second to none.”
Last six games: Burnley DLWWLW, Leeds United WDDLWD.
Referee: G Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).
Last time: Burnley 1 Leeds United 2; November 19, 2011; Championship.