By Craig Scott

19th Dec, 2019 | 12:45pm

Bielsa responds when asked if Liam Cooper will start in Leeds clash v Fulham

Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed that Liam Cooper is available for Saturday’s clash between Leeds United and Fulham but has not said whether or not he will start.

Cooper, 28, has missed the last three matches with a calf injury but confirmed himself on Wednesday that he is ready to return to the side this weekend at Craven Cottage.

Leeds boss Bielsa has also confirmed this but has avoided answering whether or not the Scotland international will be straight back into his starting line-up at Fulham.

“Cooper is back with the team,” said Bielsa, as quoted by LeedsLive in his press conference on Thursday afternoon.

When asked if Cooper is expected to start, Bielsa said: “Cooper’s features are not different from those of the players who played in the last match.

“Last season we received goals similar to those we received with Cardiff, with or without Liam.

“Obviously we cannot explain the result, but it wasn’t how we controlled the match that allowed us to think we would draw the match.”

Bielsa certainly dodged answering that question.

It might just be that the Argentine is trying not to give too much away ahead of his side’s trip to the capital so that Scott Parker has to make plans to play against a Leeds side with or without Cooper.

Or, Cooper might not be ready to start just yet.

Either way, Leeds have shown enough this season to suggest that they can cope at Fulham with or without Cooper.

Yes, they conceded three goals in the 3-3 draw with Cardiff last week but in the two games before that, when Cooper was also missing, they won 2-0 both times.

Ben White and Gaetano Berardi are a decent pairing and a poor 30-minute spell against Cardiff should not stop fans from seeing that.

Hopefully Cooper is fit but if not, we have faith in the players that Bielsa will start instead.

In other Leeds United news, ex-Whites defender Kyle Bartley has made an admission about the Yorkshire club.