The Football Association was still to confirm last night whether defender Liam Cooper would face any punishment over allegations of a deliberate stamp in Leeds United’s 1-0 defeat to Reading.
Cooper is set to be involved in tonight’s Sky Bet Championship game at Brentford with the FA tight-lipped about the ramifications of a second-half incident involving the United centre-back and Reading’s Reece Oxford on Saturday.
Television replays showed Cooper apparently catching Oxford in the face with a boot as the on-loan West Ham United youngster lay on the ground with Reading defending a corner.
Referee Keith Stroud took advice from one of his assistants amid complaints from other Reading players but the official did not penalise defender Cooper.
United head coach Garry Monk, who has started Cooper in Leeds’ last two games, leapt to the defence of the 25-year-old afterwards, admitting he had not seen the clash but saying that “with my opinion of Liam, it’ll definitely be an accident and one that he didn’t mean to do”.
The FA hit Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings with a five-match suspension for a stamping offence in a Premier League match against Manchester United last month and similar punishment of Cooper would rule him out of much of the Championship run-in.
Leeds, who are fifth in the table and fighting to qualify for the play-offs, have seven games remaining, the first of them at Griffin Park this evening.
Cooper and the rest of Monk’s players have trained down south since their defeat at Reading, avoiding a second long journey in the space of four days, and the centre-back is bidding to keep his place having surprisingly jumped ahead of Pontus Jansson in the order at Leeds.
Defender Ayling returns page 47