Leeds United team news: Defender passed fit for Millwall trip

Liam Cooper. PIC: Tony Johnson
Liam Cooper. PIC: Tony Johnson
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Leeds United captain Liam Cooper is expected to be passed fit for Saturday’s trip to Millwall as the club begin the challenge of defending their position at the top of the Championship.

Cooper is carrying a minor injury which forced his substitution in Tuesday’s win over Birmingham City but the centre-back looks set to make the trip to London and save head coach Thomas Christiansen from a defensive headache. Leeds were without a centre-back on the bench against Birmingham and Luke Ayling switched from right-back to compensate for Cooper’s withdrawal after the United captain left the field in the 69th minute.

Luke Ayling. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Luke Ayling. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Christiansen’s defensive resources will increase next week when Matthew Pennington returns from a month-long lay-off with ankle ligament damage but he is confident of having an in-form Cooper available when Leeds turn out as Championship leaders for the first time since 1990.

Christiansen said: “He’s okay. If we started the (Birmingham) game again now then he could not play but he will be ready for Saturday.”

Cooper, who was vice-captain in his first two years at Leeds and received the armband from Christiansen at the start of this month, has been an influential presence in the centre of Christiansen’s backline, contributing to an unbeaten start and a run of six consecutive clean sheets.

Millwall, meanwhile, are waiting to hear if striker Lee Gregory will be free to face Leeds after appealing a red card shown to him during a 2-2 draw at Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday.

Matthew Pennington. PIC: Tony Johnson

Matthew Pennington. PIC: Tony Johnson

Gregory is facing an immediate three-match ban but Millwall hope the Football Association will overturn his dismissal later today.

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