Leeds United

Noel Whelan has tipped Marcelo Bielsa to name a trio of returning stars on the Leeds United bench against Sheffield United.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested Liam Cooper, Rodrigo and Pablo Hernandez needed to earn their places back among the starting XI.

Speaking at his press conference, Marcelo Bielsa confirmed the centre back and two attackers were back in contention against the Blades.

However, he suggested the Spanish pair may not be totally match fit after their respective injury layoffs.

Rodrigo missed the 2-1 win over Fulham shortly after returning from a groin injury last month.

Hernandez meanwhile has not featured in any of Leeds’ last three matchday squads.

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Centre-back and club captain Cooper missed the last two through illness.

Whelan insisted it was a tough call to leave any of the experienced trio out.

However, he admitted did not expect to see them start at Elland Road.

Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: Personally, I’d like to stick to the back four. It’s a game we’ve got to go out and win, playing at home against bottom of the league.

I don’t feel that we need to start fitting in players that are gonna change our formation just because you feel you need to. Struijk and Llorente deserve those positions for themselves right now, the way they’ve been playing.

“I think it’s a case of you’ve got to sit and bide your time. It is a difficult one for Marcelo Bielsa because you’ve got your club captain coming back. 

“Pablo and Rodrigo, yes they’re available but they’re probably not match fit. I still can’t see, despite being withdrawn from the Wales squad, Tyler Roberts not being given that go ahead. I don’t think it’s going to affect his place this weekend.”

Rodrigo has not started a game since the 3-1 win over Leicester City in January.

Cooper meanwhile made 10 consecutive starts before being forced out the side.

In other news, a top pundit claims Joe Gelhardt could quit Leeds United unless he is given a chance in the first-team.