Cooper returns to ease Leeds United’s defensive concerns

Liam Cooper in action for Leeds United last season
Liam Cooper in action for Leeds United last season
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LIAM COOPER will return from injury to the Leeds United match-day squad for Saturday’s Championship trip to Sunderland while Gaetano Berardi and Matthew Pennington are set to be back after the international break.

Cooper missed Tuesday night’s goalless draw at home to Fulham due to a problem picked up in training but the centre-back will travel with the Whites squad for Saturday evening’s Sky televised clash at the Stadium of Light.

Whites head coach Thomas Christiansen has also revealed that full-back Berardi and centre-back Pennington are also both nearing a return, though the duo are not expected to be fit until after the international break at the end of this month and the beginning of September.

Pennington picked up an ankle injury in United’s season opener at Bolton Wanderers in which Berardi dislocated his shoulder.

“I believe that Gaetano will come in very soon and Matthew can take a little bit longer but not too much longer,” revealed Christiansen.

“Cooper is okay.

“The day after (the Fulham game) he was ready to train - but it was a risk (against Fulham) that I didn’t want to run.

“But for the game tomorrow he will be in the squad of 19 players that will travel so he is an option.”

Asked if Berardi or Pennington might return for the following weekend’s trip to Nottingham Forest, Christiansen said: “We will see but I believe that after the (international) break they could be in.”

Leeds will return to action after the international break at home to Burton Albion on Saturday, September 9.

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