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Noel Whelan insists Leeds United “need proper centre-halves” against Wolves after Diego Llorente and Liam Cooper returned from international duty with groin injuries.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Leeds striker and boyhood Whites fan delivered his verdict after both underwent a medical assessment at the club’s training headquarters Thorp Arch.

Leeds revealed last night that the Llorente, 27, will be out for up to three weeks with a groin injury, while captain Liam Cooper, who also suffered a groin injury, faces a late fitness test ahead of Monday’s clash against Wolves.

Marcelo Bielsa may be forced to start Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk against the Wanderers, the pair conceding four goals against Liverpool when they last played together.

Whelan fears it will be a difficult game against Wolves with Raul Jimenez leading the line for the opposition.

He told Football Insider“Llorente, he picked it up while on international duty as well. I was hoping he would be OK.

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“I thought with Leeds playing on Monday it gives them a little bit of extra time if he’s not going to be playing midweek.

“I was hoping those extra days before we play Wolves would enable him to get the required treatment and then one of Cooper or Llorente minimum would be right ahead of that game.

“We need proper centre-halves. We can’t be throwing people in against Wolves, it’s going to be a very, very tough game with Raul Jimenez up front you need a proper centre-half up against them.”

Llorente is yet to feature for the Yorkshire against since signing from Real Sociedad last month for a reported £18million fee.

The defender has six Spain caps, the most recent of which came in their 0-0 draw against Portugal last Wednesday.

In other Leeds United news, Football Insider can exclusively REVEAL that the Whites are working on signing a Derby County sensation in a beat-the-deadline deal.