Liam Cooper to make Leeds United comeback for Under-23s as Marcelo Bielsa gives update over injured stars

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa has revealed that club captain Liam Cooper will make his comeback for the Whites Under-23s side on Monday evening.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 4th January 2019, 3:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 1:47 pm
Leeds United defender Liam Cooper to make comeback with Under-23s.
Leeds United defender Liam Cooper to make comeback with Under-23s.

Carlos Corberan's development squad make the trip to Hull City as the PDL North resumes action following a short break over the festive period.

Whites centre-back Cooper, who has been missing since the start of December, will step up his recovery from a knee injury that resulted in an operation which has seen him sidelined since the 1-0 victory over Sheffield United last month.

Bielsa, who named his starting line-up for Sunday's QPR trip during his pre-match press conference, was also asked about the fitness of Gaetano Berardi and Stuart Dallas.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Leeds United defender Liam Cooper to make comeback with Under-23s.

"Gaetano Berardi is well now," Bielsa revealed. "We’ll see during the month of January when we can put him inside the team. The process is always the same, like Liam Cooper.

"The idea is that he plays with the Under-23s (on Monday) and then with the first team.

"Dallas started to train today. The problem with him is that as it’s a bone we have to wait until it heals and we have to be very careful with the help of their injured players."

The Whites head coach was also asked about the availability of playmaker Izzy Brown and striker Patrick Bamford following their setbacks from long-term issues: "Izzy Brown is fit but he hasn’t played in the last year.

"Usually a process for a player like him is to play four or five games with the Under-23s before playing in the Championship. That’s why if everything goes well, by mid-February he will be in a position to be in the first team because he has to reach his fitness level.

"Bamford is well. He suffered an injury similar to the one before but not so serious and we have to take precautions with that. That’s why we won’t accelerate the terms of recovery for Bamford. You have two ways of managing injuries of the players.

"The first one is when you take into account the needs of the team or the second one is where you take into account the health of the player and for me I always put first the health of the player and then second the interest of the team.

"To explain it clearly, if Roofe doesn’t play Bamford is available, it’s a possibility."

Bielsa also revealed a fresh concern for his squad after Barry Douglas picked up a "muscular injury" in the 4-2 defeat to Nottingham Forest on New Year's Day.

The 63-year-old though played down the severity of the issue: "The fact that I’m taking into consideration is that he could finish the game (against Forest). If you have a serious injury you cannot."

Fellow left-back Tom Pearce is also expected to feature in the Whites squad for this weekend's FA Cup clash against Queens Park Rangers having missed the last two months with a bruised foot.