Good news for Leeds as Liam Cooper return is pencilled in

Leeds captain Liam Cooper is expected to return to the side for Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash against Swansea at Elland Road.

The stylish central defender was not risked during Saturday’s impressive 3-0 win at Stoke which saw Marcelo Bielsa’s side underline their credentials as promotion favourites with a dominant display.

Leeds opted to start with versatile Swiss defender Gaetano Berardi as Ben White’s central defensive partner and while the former is expected to keep his place against the Potters in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, Cooper should be fit to return next weekend.

Bielsa, in fact, revealed after Saturday’s win that Cooper could even have been risked at the bet365 Stadium, but the club opted instead to let him rest the ankle problem that first saw him emerge as a doubt for last Wednesday’s home win over Brentford.

“He could have played today, but he wasn’t at 100 per cent.,” Bielsa revealed afterwards.

Bielsa, however, knows he can trust Berardi to step in when needed and the 31-year-old put in a solid display alongside White.

Assessing his squad depth, Bielsa continued: “We have a long season to play.

“The centre-backs in our team are making a very good performance, they are playing very well. But with the passing of the year we will see if the squad that we created has enough or does not have enough (defenders).”

Asked about the convincing victory over Stoke, Bielsa said: “The start of the game was a little bit complicated for us.

“But after we started to manage the goal, then we defended well and we attacked well. Then we had a good performance today and were deserved winners.”

Tuesday’s match against Stoke will also likely see Eddie Nketiah and Helder Costa come into the team, with Patrick Bamford and Pablo Hernandez the men most likely to make way in a side that is likely to show plenty of changes.

Jack Clarke is another set to come in after Bielsa admitted he had plenty of options on the wing after assessing why the on-loan Tottenham man had yet to feature in the Championship for Leeds.