Leeds United may soon have all four centre-back options fully fit for the first time this season – that will leave Marcelo Bielsa with a selection dilemma.
That is according to ex-Leeds forward and lifelong fan Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after fit-again Robin Koch was a late substitute in the 2-1 victory over Fulham and with Liam Cooper’s return to action imminent.
Koch, a £13million summer signing, was playing his first match since December after recovering from a knee injury while Cooper is out of the side with illness.
After Cooper was not selected for Scotland’s recent international squad, manager Steve Clarke explained: “He could maybe have been available for the third game.”
Those comments would suggest that Cooper could be available for selection for Leeds’ first match after the international break, against Sheffield United on 3 April.
Whelan claimed that Bielsa will have a welcome selection headache with Diego Llorente, Pascal Struijk, Cooper and Koch to choose from.
He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “He [Koch] is a new signing that we’ve not seen enough of in his first season. So it’s fantastic that he’s back.
“It’s great to have that option where we can put an extra defender on and really shore up a game because it was a bit tense at the end. It was the right decision to get that extra centre-half out there and really see the game out.
“He’s pressing for a place. No doubt Liam Cooper will be back for the next game. So there are really big decisions to be made. It could be the first time this season that we have all four fit.”
Leeds have suffered badly with injuries in defence this season with Diego Llorente having only recently recovered from a third setback since joining in September.
Despite this, the Whites are enjoying a fruitful campaign and are 11th in the league table with nine matches to play.