By Mark Smith

9th Aug, 2022 | 8:10am

Early Leeds United team news v Southampton - Liam Cooper and Dan James return, five out

Leeds United travel to Southampton on Saturday afternoon looking to make it a perfect two-from-two start to the 2022-23 season at St Mary’s.

Injury Expert Ben Dinnery has shared that Jesse Marsch may need to do it without five of his main men though, with Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas, Luis Sinisterra, Adam Forshaw and Junior Firpo set to miss out.

In better news, Dan James will return from his suspension period with Liam Cooper also set to be available after nursing his Achilles problem through pre-season.

Sharing on his website, Premier Injuries, Dinnery shared timescales for each injured player with Sinisterra and Forshaw the next two to return.

With Chelsea the following week, it looks as though those two will be back training this week with the view to have them both available for that showdown at Elland Road.

Five Out.

Of course, having five senior players ruled out can be seen as a massive blow.

Marsch will likely be thankful that they are only relatively small injuries compared to last season, where players were out for months at a time, even after he arrived.

Firpo, Forshaw, Ayling and Sinisterra will return in weeks, and make the squad full strength – with Dallas not expected to play much of a role this season, as we all knew already.

Our starting XI was very strong against Wolves, but the bench was somewhat lacking in experience outside of Mateusz Klich, so welcoming back up to five options that can all make a difference with have a huge impact on the squad.

Marsch will most likely deploy the same starting XI at Southampton, but with the pace of James and the leadership of Cooper to bring on if needed, the squad is already looking better.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites now want to sign this striker with a rival set to kickstart a major £30million+ transfer battle