By Daniel Feliciano

6th Sep, 2022 | 8:10pm

Beren Cross shares if Luke Ayling and Liam Cooper will start for Leeds United v Nottingham Forest

Luke Ayling is unlikely to come into the starting lineup for Leeds against Nottingham Forest, but Liam Cooper could return according to Beren Cross.

Ayling returned as a second half substitute during the 5-2 thumping by Brentford at the weekend, while Cooper is yet to start a game despite being fit for a while now after being kept out of the side by Diego Llorente and Robin Koch.

While fans are calling for change at the weekend after that poor result, journalist Cross claimed in his LeedsLive Q&A [6 September] that he doesn’t envisage the manager starting Ayling just yet although Cooper could get the nod.

“I am not party to Ayling’s training sessions or physical data since his injury, but if his body is ready to play at least an hour I would start him against Forest,” he said.

“I don’t think Marsch will do that, though. He will not want to harm Kristensen’s confidence so early in the season nor risk Ayling so soon after his comeback.

“I would be surprised if any fans wanted to keep Llorente in on Saturday’s evidence. It just seems to make so much sense to recall the fit-again captain and take the Spaniard out of the firing line.”

Change

Leeds started the season in fantastic form, but now something needs to change after three winless games and a shocker of a performance against Brentford.

Conceding five goals in any game should always see players dropped in the next outing and while Kristensen didn’t play, Ayling was excellent in the final 20 minutes and clearly wants his position back.

But if Kristensen is fit enough to return it would make sense to bring him in, as rushing Ayling would be a disaster waiting happen with our previous injury record over recent seasons.

As for Cooper, the manager has likely been waiting for an opportunity to bring in his captain and leader into the backline and it was just a case of who gave him that opening to get back into the side.

Koch has been excellent for the most part of the campaign so far and Llorente really struggled last time out, so it would make plenty of sense and give fans something to look forward to when the lineup gets announced.

In other Leeds news, a January transfer has been mooted if first-team ace fails to deliver between now and then