Danny Mills claims that Gaetano Berardi is set to be axed from the Leeds United starting XI after seeing Liam Cooper make his return from injury in the clash versus Sheffield Wednesday.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds and England full-back applauded the Swiss defender for his performances in the Scot’s absence but says Cooper will “definitely” take his place in the lineup against Queens Park Rangers.

Berardi has started the last four league games for Marcelo Bielsa after Cooper was ruled out for a number of weeks, finding himself wrongly sent off just 14 minutes into his first start of the campaign.

Having seen Cooper come off the bench to join Berardi in Saturday’s clash at Hillsborough, Mills says the Scottish international will be taking his place next weekend.

Asked if the 28-year-old would be back in the starting XI against QPR, Mills told Football Insider: “Oh definitely. I think if he’s 100 per cent fit – I think that’s what Bielsa demands, he doesn’t want almost fit, he wants 100 per cent fit or as close to it as possible.

“Just his calmness at times alongside Ben White, that extra aerial ability he adds as well and I’m sure as soon as he is fit he will be back in.

“I think he (Berardi’s) done very, very well. He understands his role, that he isn’t going to play week in, week out, but he is probably first-choice defender in three different positions to come on and he’s got a massive role to play. I think he’s done a sterling job, especially at centre-half where he’s not the biggest.”

Cooper had played every minute in all but one of the club’s opening nine league games before picking up his injury problem which left him sidelined from the start of October.

The 0-0 draw against Wednesday kept Leeds in second ahead of the other Championship fixtures, with the Owls just one point and one place behind the Whites.

In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent has been left drooling over a “magic” player at Elland Road he wants to see more of.