Shelbourne v Leeds United: Cooper out of first friendly

Liam Cooper.
Liam Cooper.
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Liam Cooper will miss Leeds’ first pre-season friendly tonight with a minor muscle injury.

The defender has been ruled out of the meeting with League of Ireland side Shelbourne to protect a problem which has limited his training this week.

Cooper is part of the squad who are working with head coach Garry Monk in Dublin but United’s boss will avoid risking him with Leeds little over three weeks away from the opening game of the Championship season.

Northern Ireland winger Stuart Dallas is absent as he enjoys the last few days of his honeymoon. Dallas was given time off by Monk after featuring for Northern Ireland in Euro 2016 but he is due to link up with the squad again this weekend.

Leeds follow up tonight’s meeting with another friendly in Dublin on Saturday, against Irish top-flight club Shamrock Rovers.

Monk took a clutch of Under-21 players to Ireland 10 days ago, including midfielder Alex Purver, left-back Tyler Denton and forward Eoghan Stokes, and he is likely to give most of his players a chance to feature at Tolka Park this evening. Jordan Botaka has resumed training again after a short illness.

“You tend to use these games, especially the early ones, to look more at the physical side of things,” Monk said. “But we’ve already been working tactically and there are elements I’ll want to see from the players.

“They’re playing for their places. You’ve got young players trying to push and experienced guys trying to put their stamp on it. Training’s been very competitive and that’s what I like.”