February 24, 2024

Any potential of a return to Sunderland looks to be in doubt for Joe Gelhardt this January amid a lack of playing time at Leeds United, according to Alan Nixon.

The Sun journalist reported via his X account [24 January] that he doubts the Black Cats would revisit a deal for the 21-year-old outcast at Elland Road after spending six months on loan with the club.

Gelhardt made 20 appearances for Sunderland in the second half of the previous campaign, recording three goals and three assists. It was hoped this would help the player kick on at Leeds but this has failed to happen.

Down the pecking order

Gelhardt looked to be becoming a fan-favourite at Elland Road after arriving from Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2020. He made 42 appearances, many of which came in the Premier League, before being sent out on loan to the Championship with Sunderland.

After gaining some valuable experience with Sunderland, finishing in the playoff spots but losing out to Luton Town in the semi-final, many hoped the striker would come back to Leeds and cement his spot in the starting XI.

But with the form of Joel Piroe, Patrick Bamford and Georginio Rutter, it is understandable that Gelhardt has struggled to do so. Sat on the bench with Mateo Joseph, the latter has been the preferred option.

 

This has meant the 21-year-old has only made eight appearances since returning to Elland Road. And the real kick in the teeth comes from Daniel Farke’s decision to prioritise Joseph in recent weeks.

With the potential aim of bringing one or two players in before the January transfer window closes, the departure of Gelhardt could help raise more funds, but Sunderland are not a club that can help Leeds achieve that.

 

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