Noel Whelan is hopeful that Leeds United captain Liam Cooper will be fit enough to play against Wolves on Monday night.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds striker and boyhood Whites fan insisted it was vital that Cooper is able to continue building a partnership with Robin Koch.
The pair have lined up together in Leeds’ last three Premier League games in which they are undefeated.
However, Cooper picked up a groin injury while on international duty with Scotland and the club confirmed he may face a late fitness test ahead of the visit of Wolves.
“I think you see a difference in our performances when he’s out there, more consistency,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“He’s somebody who knows what Marcelo Bielsa wants.
“I know that Robin Koch was exceptional in the last couple of games, he’s got to grips to what’s required from a centre-half by Marcelo Bielsa.
“At the same time, you need to adapt and he adapted a lot better when Liam Cooper was there.
“It’s important to keep relationships going and we keep talking about relationships between players and that consistency of playing together and that’s the only way you get better as a back two.
“It’ll be a massive loss because he brings that balance to the side with his left foot and he’s a leader out there.
“People soon forget about how much he has progressed in his career at Leeds United especially in the last couple of years under Marcelo Bielsa and he’s got that international recognition now is a testament to the players around him.
“I’m hoping because he was left out of the (Scotland) side, that he is the one out of the two with Llorente of having a 50/50 chance of playing because they do need him that’s for sure.
“Jimenez up against a make-shift centre-half, I do worry.”