Early Leeds team news: 25-year-old to be omitted against Barnsley - reliable journalist

By Alex Stevens

Liam Cooper is set to be omitted from the Leeds side that take on Barnsley in the Yorkshire derby on Saturday evening, according to a reliable journalist.

Manager Garry Monk claimed on Thursday that the centre-back was “touch and go” to recover from a leg injury in time to take his place in the the back line.

Yorkshire Evening Post correspondent Phil Hay claimed on Twitter on Saturday afternoon that he expected Cooper, 25 to miss out in what would be an unchanged XI from the side that beat Derby 1-0 eight days ago.

Asked for an update from a Leeds fan on the centre-back, who sustained damage in the FA Cup triumph over League Two side Cambridge 12 days ago, Hay reported on his personal Twitter account that Monk would not select Cooper unless he was in perfect health as the manager “doesn’t tend to take risks”.

The loss of Cooper would mean that Monk would have to field a makeshift back line for the second consecutive league match.

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Leeds will be without the suspended Pontus Jansson as he serves the second match of a two-game ban, while Monk revealed that left-back Charlie Taylor “is still unavailable” with an achilles problem.

Lewie Coyle and Gaetano Berardi filled in at full-back in the 1-0 win over Derby, while regular right-back Luke Ayling partnered central defensive mainstay Kyle Bartley.

The new-look back line worked wonders at Elland Road but Monk admitted afterwards that he was looking forward to his senior operators returning.

Taylor has missed the last five matches after breaking down during Leeds’ pre-Christmas win against Brentford on 17 December.

It was initially expected to be a minor problem but the left-back, 23, has now been absent for over a month.

Berardi, who has spent most of his career at right-back, has deputised for Taylor at left-back, while Coyle took over on the right side of the defence in what was an outstanding team performance against Derby.

In other Leeds news, Monk has made a shock transfer revelation after meeting with new owner Andrea Radrizzani.

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