Leeds United have been dealt a fresh blow over captain Liam Cooper as he recovers from his hamstring injury…
Injury expert Ben Dinnery has claimed that the centre-back’s return to training does not mean that he will be back sooner than expected.
The Premier League Injuries site owner has explained why the Scotland international may not be back in the team in the immediate future.
He told Football Insider: “We always thought it was going to be around three months but I think that mid-March is realistic now.
“Just because you’re back training, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to be part of the first team. It can actually be a bit of a red herring.
“There are lots of exercises to complete and hoops you need to jump through before you get to that stage.
“Leeds need Cooper to be ready when he does come back. If it adds a few weeks on the timeline for the sake of not rushing him, it’ll be worth it.”
Leeds fans will surely be fuming with this claim as Cooper’s return to training may have led them to believe that he would be back in contention in the early parts of March.
He was not involved in the matchday squad against Leicester and Dinnery’s comments suggest that he may not be back for the massive clashes with Aston Villa and Norwich at Elland Road. Having the captain back for successive home matches against bottom-half sides would have been a huge boost as his leadership on the pitch would have been a lift to the side.
Instead, Jesse Marsch will need to deal with the current crop of defensive options who have been letting the club down all season. Leeds have conceded the most goals (61) in the entire division this season and have only kept three clean sheets in 27 matches.
All three of those shutouts came in Cooper’s 15 appearances to date. This highlights the difference between him being in and out of the side, as the Whites have failed to keep a single clean sheet in the 12 matches that he has been absent for.
Therefore, Leeds are in desperate need of his presence at the back to improve their defence and improve their chances of avoiding relegation to the Championship. This is why fans will be fuming that his return to training will not see him return for another couple of games, at least, according to Dinnery.