By Mark Smith

18th Sep, 2020 | 7:30am

Mark Lawrenson predicts winner in Leeds clash v Fulham after major player development

Mark Lawrenson has backed Leeds United to pick up all three points on Saturday when they welcome Fulham to Elland Road.

The BBC pundit has predicted the Whites will win 2-0 as they prepare for their first home game in the Premier League in over 16 years.

Marcelo Bielsa will welcome back Liam Cooper into his defence after he missed the 4-3 defeat against Liverpool last time out through injury.

Lawrenson believes the return of the Scottish international will play a major part in the result, and he admitted that home advantage could also play a part.

“These are the other two promoted teams and, like West Brom, they both lost last weekend,” he wrote in his BBC column.

“There’s a chance Leeds captain Liam Cooper will be back on Saturday after missing the Liverpool game with a calf injury, and he would obviously improve them defensively.

“I’m backing Marcelo Bielsa’s side to get the win this time, especially because they are playing at Elland Road.”

It seems strange to predict that home advantage will play a part in the game with there being no fans, but the return of Cooper will certainly help Leeds.

That’s not to say Pascal Struijk had a bad game at Anfield, but the Whites skipper will calm those around him and add valuable experience to help stop the threat of Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Robin Koch had a frantic start to life as a Leeds player against Liverpool, and having the presence of Cooper next to him will help.

Cooper actually earned a higher WhoScored match average rating than Ben White last season, making more clearances than any other player.

It isn’t a must-win game this early in the season, but these are the sort of teams Leeds will need to beat if they want to have a successful campaign.

In other Leeds United news, Bielsa responds when asked for updates on De Paul and Gvardiol pursuits

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