Sam Allardyce has told Thursday’s press conference – as per the club’s YouTube – that Leeds United captain Liam Cooper thinks he is “close” to a return from injury, but Saturday’s clash against Newcastle will come too soon.

Cooper, 31, has endured a difficult season with injury – managing just 18 appearances at senior level this season. The skipper started three consecutive games recently, the last being against Bournemouth, picking up an injury.

It saw him subbed in Javi Gracia’s last game in charge and was missing from the clash against Manchester City on Saturday. Rasmus Kristensen and Max Wober played in the middle of the defence, with Robin Koch on the bench.

Koch missed training that week, which saw Allardyce only name him as a sub. It might be that Koch returns this weekend, but Cooper will be missing from the squad along with Luis Sinisterra, Tyler Adams and Stuart Dallas.

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“He thinks so [he’s close]. Next week. We need to keep everyone fit. The squad in general at Leeds is very light. We have to be protective in picking up injuries,” Allardyce said at the start of Thursday’s Leeds press conference.

Allardyce: Leeds captain Cooper thinks he is close to return from injury

Having Cooper fit is important. He might not even start, but Cooper is crucial for the changing room. A player that lives and breathes Leeds United. A player that is approaching a decade at the club, having joined back in 2014.

While he will be missing from the matchday squad on Saturday, he will surely be in and around the dressing room and then, to have him potentially back against West Ham next week is a big boost. Cooper is key in this position.

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