Date:Tuesday January 31 2012
Leeds United boss Simon Grayson is hoping that Luciano Becchio can kick on now this season after scoring in the 3-1 win over Ipswich Town last time out.
Becchio has struggled this season after missing pre-season and the start of the season after requiring surgery on a hamstring injury he picked up in April.
The goal against Ipswich was only his fourth goal of the season and one thing that has been most noticeable this season has been we have not seen the hustling and bustling striker that has endeared him to the Leeds faithful in his first three seasons at Elland Road.
Becchio came off the bench against Ipswich having started nine of the previous ten games and he looked more like his old self, putting the Ipswich defence under pressure. Grayson is hoping the goal can kick start his season as Leeds look to push for promotion in the final nineteen games of the season.
Speaking on Yorkshire Radio, Grayson said, "He looked like the Luciano Becchio we know and what he is capable of doing for that twenty - twenty-five minute period against Ipswich.
"He was bustling people around, I think a few weeks ago, Luciano would have got knocked off the ball by their centre half and he would not have got his goal. He was strong and determined and had a purpose about what he was trying to do and it was great for him to get the goal.
"Hopefully he has now got the bit between his teeth and he is ready to go because we want to rely on his goals for the rest of the season.
"He has been a big player for the football club. He has not had the impact we would have liked this season. Part of the reason was his injury as well, which stopped the start of the season for him but we are looking for Luciano to be a real big part for the rest of the season."
Becchio arrived at Elland Road in the summer of 2008 having had a successful trial with the whites whilst touring Ireland.
The Argentinian quickly settled into life at Elland Road and formed a formidable partnership with Jermaine Beckford and he netted 18 times.
The 28-year-old netted 17 goals in his second season as one again the Beckford and Becchio partnership helped Leeds clinch promotion from League One.
In the clubs first season back in the Championship, Becchio had to take the lead role in attack with Beckford moving to Everton. He did not disappoint, netting 20 times before a hamstring injury in the game with Watford in April brought a premature end to his season.
The season also included his first hat trick for the club when he came off the bench to net three times in seventeen minutes against Bristol City in November.
Leeds fans were delighted when Becchio, who was in the last year of his contract at Elland Road, signed a new three and a half year deal in December, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2014.
Becchio made his first appearance this season when he came off the bench to score in the home win over Crystal Palace in September.
He made his first start towards the end of the same month when he played against Manchester United in the Carling Cup.
Becchio came off the bench in Leeds next ten games before making his first championship start of the season against Barnsley at the end of November.
He has been a regular in the starting eleven since, starting nine of Leeds next eleven games but has looked a shadow of the player we have grown used to at Elland Road.
Let us hope that Becchio can return to his best in the run in to the end of the season as Leeds try to get themselves in and around the promotion places.
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Date:Tuesday January 31 2012
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