Cooper injury opens door to Davis
Leeds centre-back Liam Cooper has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a groin injury that he sustained in the 1-0 win over West Brom on Tuesday night.
That’s a mighty blow for Leeds who have racked up the Championship’s tightest defence – just five goals conceded in ten games – under the stewardship of Cooper and Ben White.
Gaetano Berardi is the recognised back-up but Cooper’s injury hands a massive opportunity to Under-23s star Leif Davis.
The 19-year-old signed from Morcambe last summer and has been putting in a string of impressive performances for Carlos Corberan’s side.
He’s already played for the senior side – three times under Bielsa this season, twice at centre-back in the EFL Cup and a cameo performance against Bristol City in the Championship.
Pascal Struijk was the man we thought would be stepping in.
He was handed a new contract last month that will keep him at Elland Road until 2021 and Football Insider reported shortly after that he was being earmarked for first-team action.
He was said to have made a “huge impression” on Marcelo Bielsa and was the reason the manager didn’t sign another centre-back in the summer. If anything happened to one of the first-choice defenders, he was supposed to step up.
Cooper’s injury means that worst-case scenario has come to pass but, unfortunately for Struijk, he is currently out injured too.
He had helped the Under-23s keep four clean sheets this season and scored two goals, but missed the last two matches – both of these ended in defeat for Leeds.
With Cooper and Struijk out, it’s time for Davis to step up and we imagine he’ll make the bench against Millwall.
However, this highlights a big danger for Leeds, who struggled in the same position last season. It might be bad luck having Cooper and Struijk out at the same time, but the warning signs were there last season. Bielsa has ignored them.
In other Leeds news: ‘Work rate was insane’ – These Leeds fans react to ‘warrior’ after 1-0 win v West Brom