By Alex McLeish

26th Dec, 2020 | 10:00am

Manager Exclusive: Leeds dressing room hit by huge blow pre-Burnley

Liam Cooper’s injury will be a big blow for the entire dressing room at Leeds United, according to Alex McLeish.

The former Rangers and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has insisted the centre-back, who is also the captain at Elland Road, will be sorely missed by his teammates ahead of this weekend’s clash with Burnley.

As confirmed by Marcelo Bielsa at his press conference, relayed by journalist Joe Urquhart, the 29-year-old is set to miss out against the Clarets on Sunday after picking up an abdominal injury against Manchester United.

Cooper missed a couple of games in the opening weeks of the season but has been a mainstay for Bielsa since the start of November.

However, McLeish has suggested the intense demands of the festive fixture list have caught up with the Scotland international and that his absence will be felt in the dressing room on Sunday.

McLeish told Football Insider: “That’s when you do fear for your squad when you lose key players and you don’t have replacements.

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“That is a very, very difficult thing to put a sticking plaster on, it’s so difficult because it can affect the whole team.

“We’ve spoken on this chat about injuries because of the amount of games players are playing and the internationals as well, there was a stream of those, squeeze them all in in advance of the Euros.

“Somewhere, it’s gonna take its toll and sometimes, especially in older players – when I was in my 30s, you start to pick up little things a hamstring here or that kind of thing.

Despite all the training you’ve done over the years, you’ve still got an inherent fitness, but as your legs are getting older and you start to get the niggles and injuries.

“Cooper has been playing an intensity and it’s harder for especially the Leeds defenders because they’re so gallant a team going forward, it leaves them with a lot of work to do at the back.”

In other news, Leeds United midfielder primed to join Championship side after Football Insider reveal from Elland Road.