Fit-again Liam Cooper is set to be reintroduced to the Leeds United starting XI in place of either Pascal Struijk or Diego Llorente. 

That is according to ex-Premier League goalscorer Kevin Phillips, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the skipper who is available for selection for tomorrow’s clash with Sheffield United at Elland Road.

Marcelo Bielsa’s hand was forced in Leeds’ last two matches as Cooper – who also missed Scotland’s March internationals – was absent with illness.

Struijk and Llorente were instead fielded at centre-half and shone as Leeds secured a 0-0 draw against Chelsea and 2-1 win against Fulham.

But Cooper is a leader, insists Phillips, and will be reinstated to the starting XI for Saturday’s Yorkshire derby.

He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “I would say as captain he would have to come straight back into the side at centre-half. It just depends on how fit he is.

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“Generally, leaders and players who have played the most minutes are always going to get back in the team. He is certainly one of those and I’m sure Bielsa will take that into consideration. 

“It’s a massive decision for Bielsa to make come the weekend. But I expect him to come back in.”

Leeds are optimistic of securing a top-half finish in their first season back in the top-flight since 2004.

Victory on Saturday would at least temporarily lift them above 10th-place Aston Villa who do not play until the following afternoon.

In other news, Leeds United tipped to save £50million as talks planned with top star.