By Craig Scott

13th Sep, 2022 | 8:41pm

Luke Ayling, Patrick Bamford to star in Leeds United Under-21s showdown v Southampton - confirmed

Leeds United have confirmed that a host of senior players will feature for the Under-21s on Friday when they play Southampton at Elland Road.

In a post on their official Twitter account on Tuesday (13 September), the Whites announced that Liam Cooper, Patrick Bamford, Luke Ayling and Junior Firpo will continue their recovery from injury by playing against the Saints’ youngsters.

Darko Gyabi and Sonny Perkins, who both joined in the summer with the view to them mixing between the senior and the reserves sides, are also set to be involved.

Huge boost

As long as they get through this game unscathed, this is great news for Leeds.

We’re crying out for Cooper, 31, to return.

The Leeds captain is yet to play in the Premier League this season and the form of Diego Llorente is a major concern among fans with the Spaniard struggling.

If Cooper gets through this game without another setback, he simply must replace Llorente in Jesse Marsch’s starting line-up for the next first-team match.

Leeds next play on 2 October against Aston Villa and Cooper should be fit and ready to play in that game.

He absolutely must partner Robin Koch at the back.

As for 26-year-old Firpo, Pascal Struijk should be our first-choice left-back until Stuart Dallas is back because he’s been brilliant this season.

Ayling, 31, is a tough one as he’s out of contract next summer and a new right-back has been signed. However, Rasmus Kristensen’s form hasn’t been the best.

Bamford, 28, obviously starts.

In other Leeds United news, Andrea Radrizzani is obsessed with signing this one player in January.