By Craig Scott

19th Dec, 2019 | 6:30am

MOT View: Leeds boost couldn't have come at better time with intense battle on cards v Fulham

Liam Cooper is set to return from injury at the perfect time for Leeds United as they prepare to take on Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Cooper, 28, has missed the last three matches with a calf injury but it was confirmed by the player himself on Wednesday that he is available for action this weekend.

BBC Radio Leeds broadcaster Adam Pope posted via his personal Twitter account that Cooper confirmed his fitness at an event.

Cooper’s return for Leeds is a major boost as it is.

Marcelo Bielsa has his captain back and can throw him into a defence that leaked three goals last time out in the 3-3 draw against Cardiff at Elland Road.

However what makes Cooper’s return even more important is that he will back in Bielsa’s defence in time to play against Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Mitrovic, 25, is arguably the best centre-forward in the Championship.

The Serbia international has scored 16 goals in 21 league appearances for Fulham this term and even though Scott Parker’s side have lost their last three, the ex-Newcastle striker is still someone to pay close attention to.

Leeds struggled at set-pieces against Cardiff, who swung plenty of crosses into the box in a bid to get their way back into the game last weekend.

It is something that worked for the Bluebirds as the Whites clearly missed Cooper, who according to WhoScored, as won more aerial duels per match than any other player at Elland Road [4.4].

Mitrovic is someone who not only provides a goal threat but is also a beast to deal with in the air.

Like Cooper, Mitrovic has averaged more aerial duels per Championship appearance than anyone at his club [4.0].

The Serbian target man has also scored four goals with his head this season and only two other players in the league have managed more.

Cooper’s return is going to be the key to keeping Mitrovic quiet because the Scotland international is Leeds’ best weapon when it comes to dealing with aerial balls.

It is bound to be an intense battle between the Leeds defender and the Fulham striker this weekend – we just hope it’s the Scotsman who comes out on top.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites have made an approach to a Premier League club willing to loan out two attackers in January.