Huge Leeds blow as 25-year-old ruled out for almost rest of the season
By Alex Stevens
Liam Cooper will miss all but one of of Leeds’ remaining Championship fixtures after being slapped with a six-match ban by the Football Association, it was confirmed on Wednesday.
The centre-back will be suspended until the final day of the league season after the FA took a firm line over his stamp on fellow defender Reece Oxford in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Reading.
But Cooper, 25, will be available if Leeds make the play-offs at the end of the regular campaign.
Following an Independent Regulatory Commission, Leeds United defender Liam Cooper to serve a six-match suspension:https://t.co/UamZgNyTJW
— The FA (@FA) April 5, 2017
Cooper began his suspension during last night’s 2-0 loss to Brentford and will miss another five matches.
The Scot pleaded guilty to a charge of violent conduct in the hope of limiting the length of his absence but the FA chose to punish him with a heavy sanction.
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His six-match ban includes the standard addition of one game for what the FA counts as Cooper’s second dismissal of the season.
The 25-year-old was shown a red card in Leeds’ FA Cup defeat to Sutton United in January.
The news is a major blow to head coach Garry Monk, depriving him of cover in an area where he has been short of numbers all season.
Cooper will next be available for Leeds’ last match at Wigan Athletic on May 7, making him available for the play-offs should Garry Monk’s side secure a top-six league finish.
Speaking last night before the length of Cooper’s punishment was known, Monk voiced sympathy for him but admitted the defender was right to plead guilty.
Cooper caught Oxford in the face with his boot during the the second half at the Madejski Stadium and was cited by the FA ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Griffin Park.
Cooper has spent much of this season on the bench but he was making his second successive start at Reading after Pontus Jansson withdrew on the morning of the game with a hamstring injury.
Jansson was back in Monk’s team at Brentford as he renewed the centre-back partnership with Kyle Bartley that has been the foundation of Leeds’ promotion bid.
In other Leeds transfer news, the club have sealed an out-of-window midfielder transfer.