Leeds United could be without Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas for their trip to Stoke City this afternoon, according to a report by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Marcelo Bielsa has revealed his two defenders are both injury concerns for the Championship tie after the duo picked up knocks in the midweek encounter against Brentford at Elland Road.
Cooper suffered a knock to his ankle, whereas Dallas was forced to leave the pitch prematurely with a muscular problem.
Bielsa has confirmed Gaetano Berardi and Jamie Shackleton will come into the first-team, should the duo not be able to come through late fitness tests.
Losing both Cooper and Dallas could be a real blow to Leeds and their chances of maintaining their unbeaten record in the Championship so far – despite Stoke struggling at the foot of the table.
The duo have been instrumental at the back for the Whites and have played significant roles in helping Bielsa’s side sit at the top of the division in the early stages of the season.
Looking at the stats by WhoScored, the Scottish centre-back has amassed an impressive average of one tackle, one interception and 4.8 clearances in his four matches so far – creating a solid defensive partnership with Ben White.
Dallas has also been as equally impressive this season for Leeds and, as such, his performances have earned him some glowing reviews from pundits like Andy Couzens and appears to be benefitting under the guidance of Bielsa at Elland Road (Leeds Live).
Indeed, the data collected by WhoScored would also appear to back up how important he has become in the side.
In his four Championship matches so far, the Northern Ireland international has averaged 1.5 tackles, one interception and 2.5 clearances whilst also completing 1.5 dribbles per game as he looks to drive forward and create an attacking outlet for the Whites.
As mentioned, the news surrounding the availability of Cooper and Dallas will be concerning to Leeds and Bielsa as missing the pair could be rather damaging to their chances of securing all three points.
The Whites have been in impressive form in the Championship this season and have only conceded two goals so far (BBC), so to lose half of the first-choice defence for a game against a side that was a Premier League outfit a couple of seasons ago could be a huge blow.
Leeds fans, how big of a blow would it be to lose both Cooper and Dallas for the Stoke trip? Let us know your thoughts by sharing them in the comments section below!
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