Liam Cooper will be unavailable for Leeds United’s Championship showdown with Preston North End at the weekend.

The centre-half was given a retrospective six-match ban after appearing to stamp on the head of Reading’s Reece Oxford during the 1-0 defeat at the Madejski Stadium earlier this month.

This will rule him out of the Whites’ remaining league fixtures, although he could return should the club reach the play-offs.

Hot prospect Tyler Denton, whose only appearances this season have come in cup competitions, is ruled out through injury but may be back before the end of the campaign.

Alfonso Pedraza should start; he was a rare bright spot coming on from the bench as United followed up the loss to the Royals by going down 2-0 to Brentford in midweek.

Leeds’ chances of achieving a top-six finish have taken a blow after two defeats on the bounce and manager Garry Monk has cause for concern after a particularly uninspiring display against the Bees.

That leaves them sitting just five points ahead of seventh-placed Fulham and with an away trip to Newcastle United coming up next Friday, the clash with Preston takes on the mantle of a must-win.

Monk is confident of securing maximum points but will know that with the strong position his side find themselves in, they are now facing the weight of expectation for the first time this season after flying under the radar in the early stages.

Fans now expect them to finish the job by reaching the play-offs and he will be counting on his players to channel that pressure positively on Saturday.

Possible Leeds starting XI (4-2-3-1): Green; Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor; Vieira, Bridcutt; Roofe, Hernandez, Pedraza; Wood


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here