'Big plus' - Exclusive: Whelan predicts Leeds change v QPR as thrilled by recent sighting

Noel Whelan has predicted Marcelo Bielsa to make a change to the Leeds United side that drew with Sheffield Wednesday by recalling Liam Cooper to the starting line-up against QPR.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the ex-Leeds and Coventry City attacker shared he had no doubt that Cooper would be back in the side for Saturday’s game after his cameo appearance against the Owls.

The 28-year-old centre-back played 14 minutes of the 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday after missing his side’s previous three league games due to a groin injury.

Whelan revealed that in his opinion it was a big plus for Leeds to have Cooper fit again as not only is he the club’s only left-footed centre-back but due to his passing ability he can turn defence into attack quickly.

When asked about Cooper’s cameo appearance against Sheffield Wednesday, Whelan told Football Insider: “Yeah it’s our great, he’s our captain and the relationship he has forged with Ben White has been fantastic.

“I think he just gives us more balance and height at the back which you need, he’s the only left-footed centre-back we have and with those cross-field balls he can start off attacks from the defence.

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“So I think him and Ben White can pick up that relationship where they finished off before he got that injured against West Brom, so it’s going to be a big plus to have him back as we have QPR coming up on Saturday and I have no doubt he’ll be back in the side.”

Cooper has played 10 times across all competitions for Marcelo Bielsa’s side this season and has helped the team register four clean sheets in the process.

The Whites captain has been at Elland Road since 2014 after joining from Chesterfield Town and is contracted to stay at the club until 2024.

In other Leeds United news, Noel Whelan claims that it is a “massive controversy” as the club’s rivals reportedly circle for one of their top players.