Jermaine Beckford has told Phil Hay on The Athletic that a return to Wigan Athletic for Leeds United ace Joe Gelhardt would “create excitement” – urging the young Whites ace to make the move, saying it could be “really beneficial”.

Gelhardt, 20, has struggled for game time this season. While he has clocked up 19 games in both league and cup, only four have been from the start. Rodrigo is bang in form, and Patrick Bamford has returned to score three goals in three.

The club have also paid a club-record fee to sign Georginio Rutter, a French wonderkid from German side Hoffenheim. So, Gelhardt is some way down the pecking order and at this stage in his career, he needs regular minutes to learn.

Going on loan makes sense. The Sun’s Alan Nixon says it is a scrap between Sunderland and Blackburn to sign him, but Wigan, Coventry and Swansea are also keen. Beckford thinks a move back to Wigan would be exciting for all involved.

“Gelhardt going back to Wigan would create excitement. It would be like one of their own returning. A good setting to be in. If he feels he’s got an itch he needs to scratch – getting games, scoring goals – then it could be really beneficial.”

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Beckford: Wigan return for Leeds ace Gelhardt would create excitement

Gelhardt played 21 times for Wigan before joining Leeds in the summer of 2020. The financial issues at the DW Stadium saw Wigan cash in but now, they are in a better place. Kolo Toure has come in as manager of the club.

Of course, they are in a perilous position in the Championship. They sit bottom of the table and having played more games than the two teams above them, they are four points adrift of safety. But Gelhardt instantly improves Wigan.

He would get regular minutes and starts for a team that he knows well. Whether or not he has what it takes to help Wigan stay up remains to be seen – but, Gelhardt will get some needed game time and come back a better player.

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