Leeds United have been dealt a double injury blow, as The Athletic’s Phil Hay has tipped Marcelo Bielsa to be without Eddie Nketiah and Liam Cooper against Luton Town for when Championship action returns this weekend.
Bielsa has been without captain Cooper for four of our league games already this term after he was not risked against Stoke City after suffering a knock to his leg in training, and later picked up a groin injury forcing him to sit out clashes with Millwall, Birmingham and Preston North End.
The boss will likely be without Cooper on Saturday, as well, as he suffered a small tear to his groin in our 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers before the international break, and was forced to withdraw from the Scotland squad for their final Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Hay suspects the issue will keep Cooper out of action for a bit longer after the international break handed the 28-year-old a rest, and expects on-loan Arsenal striker Nketiah to join the centre-half in the stands for Saturday’s game.
Nketiah has been sidelined since the start of the month after going down in training with an abdominal issue, while the club’s medical department also noted the youngster had suffered an injury to his anatomy following further examinations.
Bielsa could have long-time absentee Adam Forshaw back for our trip to Luton as the midfielder edges closer to fitness, which would mark his first appearance since September after suffering a hip injury.
Ezgjan Alioski and Jamie Shackleton’s fitness levels are also uncertain, after the former withdrew from representing North Macedonia after missing our last two games with a hip injury, and the latter continues to carry an issue from the hamstring issue suffered against West Bromwich Albion at the start of October.
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Missing Cooper will likely be the biggest concern for Saturday’s trip to Luton, as the Hatters have shown no issues in finding the back of the net this season and have actually scored once more than we have managed at this stage of the season, despite only sitting one point above the relegation places.
Luton do hold the second-worst defensive record in the Championship, though, so Nketiah’s absence should not harm our chances of moving top of the division – pending results at West Brom and for Preston – and offer Patrick Bamford a great chance to score in back-to-back games for the first time this season.