Leeds United have suffered a double injury set-back with Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas set to miss up to six weeks of the Championship season.
Cooper underwent surgery in Italy today on a knee injury suffered during Saturday’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United and Leeds have sidelined Dallas after the Northern Ireland international sustained a fractured foot in the same game.
Cooper, United’s club captain, limped out of the Yorkshire derby at Bramall Lane after 20 minutes having pulled up off the ball but Dallas completed the match amid no signs of obvious discomfort.
Head coach Marcelo Bielsa, however, will be without both players until the new year, adding to an already sizeable defensive headache.
Leeds expect Cooper to be available “in under six weeks” while Dallas’ recovery period has been set at between four and six weeks.
The club are already missing Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi, who have knee and hamstring injuries respectively and are unlikely to return until January at the earliest.
United were braced for the loss of Cooper and sent him to to Rome for a procedure carried out by leading surgeon Professor Paolo Mariani.
The injury to Dallas, who has been operating as a right-back with both Ayling and Berardi unavailable, comes as an more unexpected blow and could see youngster Jamie Shackleton pushed into that role against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
United’s head of medicine and performance Rob Price said: “This is always a period of the season when players tend to pick up more injuries and we’re disappointed to lose Stuart and Liam who’ve performed well recently.
“However, we have other players who are edging closer to contention and a squad of players who know exactly what Marcelo expects from them in every position.
“The medical staff will continue to work with all the players who are going through the rehabilitation process and we will have them back for what will be a critical stage of the campaign.”