The Leeds United injury curse seems to have continued into the new season, as captain Liam Cooper is facing a further five-weeks on the sidelines.
Last season, Marcelo Bielsa’s hopes of leading the Whites back to the Premier League were hampered by a number of injury problems throughout the season, as they fell at the first hurdle of the play-offs.
There seems to be no lay off for Leeds this campaign either, as Cooper picked up a groin injury to leave the club with a massive defensive headache.
Former United striker Noel Whelan feels that the loss of their experienced captain will come as a huge blow, and that it will be tough to replace him in the coming weeks.
“Cooper is a massive loss, losing him is a huge blow to Leeds,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“He is not only the club captain and outstanding defender, but he gives Leeds balance because he is the only left footed centre-back at the club.
“He is irreplaceable. You are losing his height, aerial prowess and leadership, as well as the continuity of his partnership with Ben White.
“He can also turn defence into attack with one crossfield pass. We have seen time and again the quality of his long-range passing, and that’s a major asset to lose.”
Leeds replaced the injured Cooper with Gaetano Beradi for their defeat to Millwall at the weekend, however the Swiss centre-half sent-off in controversial fashion after conceding a contentious penalty after just 14 minutes.
Thankfully the club have won an appeal against the red card, meaning that the defender will be available following the international break.
Last season Bielsa’s side dealt with their injury crisis well, as Leeds managed a third placed finish, however the absence of Cooper is a big blow for their hopes of maintaining their place in the top six.
The Scotland international is facing another five weeks out with his groin problem, however the Whites will be hoping their captain can make a speedy recovery and return earlier.