Leeds captain Liam Cooper ‘completely recovered’
Leeds United head coach Javi Gracia will be able to call upon club captain Liam Cooper against Wolves this afternoon after he recovered from injury, Adam Pope reports.
The Lowdown: Adams out
The Whites travel to Molineux this afternoon in what could be a pivotal Premier League meeting. However, Gracia will be without star midfielder Tyler Adams for the match after the club officially confirmed in the week that the USA international suffered a hamstring injury in training and will miss the match.
Adams also won’t be available to represent his country during the international break and is being assessed by specialists to see how much of the run-in he could miss. Gracia has Marc Roca and Weston McKennie as senior midfield options, although he also will think about using teenagers Darko Gyabi and Archie Gray while Adams is out.
However, there has been some good news on the injury front regarding Cooper, who has missed five of the last six top-flight matchday squads.
The Latest: Pope’s post
Pope was present for Gracia’s pre-match press conference at Thorp Arch on Thursday, where there was a positive update on Cooper. He relayed news on Twitter that the club captain ‘has completely recovered’ with Gracia adding that the defender ‘offers a lot both on and off the pitch’.
“JG says Liam Cooper has completely recovered from his injury issue. Says he offers a lot both on and off the pitch.”
The Verdict: Selection dilemma
Gracia has gone with Robin Koch and Max Wober in all three of his Premier League meetings in charge at Elland Road, with the pair keeping a clean sheet in his first game in charge against Southampton.
But going by his comments on Cooper, the head coach will have a key decision to make this afternoon as he is clearly already a big fan of the skipper. Cooper appears to be ready to feature from the off after being named in the Scotland squad for the upcoming international break.
As per WhoScored, Cooper has been Leeds’ third-best performing centre-back behind Pascal Struijk and Wober, although Struijk has been turning out at left-back for large parts of the season but has been out with his own injury issues in recent weeks.
It’ll be interesting to see who Gracia decides to go with in defence and in midfield for this crucial fixture, where a win could take Leeds up several places in the table, providing results elsewhere go their way.