Liam Cooper is available for selection against Sheffield United tomorrow but Marcelo Bielsa will name him on the Leeds United bench.
That is according to ex-Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after the Leeds manager was cryptic when questioned about the defensive partnership he would field for the Yorkshire derby
Quoted in the Yorkshire Post, the Argentine said: “The type of game will have no bearing on who I select because the demands are always similar, no matter who the opponent is.”
Illness forced Cooper, 29, to miss Leeds’ last two matches and Scotland’s three fixtures over the March international break.
Pascal Struijk and Diego Llorente started in the Whites’ 0-0 draw with Chelsea and 2-1 victory over Fulham in his absence.
Campbell tipped Bielsa to persist with this partnership and predicted that Cooper will have to be patient to break back into the starting XI.
“I think he’ll be on the bench,” he told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs.
“It’s great to see him back but I don’t think he walks back into this Leeds team because they’ve been good this season.
“They’ve had some great times and some difficult times, especially in defence. But that partnership, Struijk and Cooper, seems to work for them and all in all, I think he’ll be on the bench.”
Summer signing Robin Koch was a late substitute at Craven Cottage after returning from a lengthy knee injury.
That means Bielsa faces a welcome dilemma in having all four of his centre-halves available for selection for the first time this season.