Liam Cooper was injured in the second half of Monday’s FA Cup win at Cambridge United, but Garry Monk is optimistic that the center-back will return in time for Friday’s match against Derby.
With first-choice center-back Pontus Jansson set to begin a two-match ban due to being booked for the 10th time this season at Cambridge, Cooper’s absence due to injury would be disastrous. Monk has already dismissed the possibility of signing an extra center-back in January, which should worry Leeds United fans.
If Cooper is unable to recover from his injury on time, Monk could move Luke Ayling from right-back into the center position.
This is what Monk had to say in regards to the injury: “It was an impact injury, a clash of legs, so we’re hoping it’s not too serious. It inflamed straight away so there was no risk from us. We took him off and we’re hoping it settles down and he’ll be ready for Friday” (source: Yorkshire Evening Post).
If Cooper is not ready on time, Monk mentioned that he would “adapt” to make sure the starting XI against Derby works.
Why a team that is fighting for promotion is unwilling to sign an extra center-back when it is clearly in need of cover is baffling. We shall see what long-term impact this reduced bench has on Leeds’ promotion campaign.