In a recent post on Twitter, The Athletic journalist relayed the comments made by Jesse Marsch in his pre-match press conference, in which the 48-year-old manager suggested that, after missing both the Manchester City and Arsenal defeats with a knee injury, the 30-year-old should be available for selection at Elland Road tomorrow night.
Regarding the current condition of the defender, Hay said: “From Marsch’s press conference – Liam Cooper had a reaction to his knee injury ahead of Arsenal. He trained yesterday and Marsch is hopeful that he’ll be available for tomorrow’s game.”
With Leeds United’s campaign very much getting to a point of being now or never if they are to secure Premier League survival, the news that Cooper looks set to make a return to the starting XI against Chelsea on Wednesday is sure to have left Marsch buzzing.
Indeed, over his 18 Premier League appearances this season, the £6.3m-rated centre-back has been imperious in the heart of the Whites’ defence, helping his side keep five clean sheets, as well as making an average of 2.1 interceptions, 2.1 tackles, 3.4 clearances and winning 6.9 duels – at a success rate of 67% – per game.
As such, it is clear for all to see that the club captain’s return to the lineup tomorrow would provide Leeds’ chances of securing a much-needed three points with a huge boost – with Cooper’s availability perhaps being the difference between the Whites playing Premier League or Championship football next season.