On Saturday afternoon, Leeds will journey to South Wales to face Cardiff Metropolis as they appear to make it back-to-back wins within the Championship and three in a row in all competitions. The Whites comfortably beat Birmingham Metropolis 3-0 on New 12 months’s Day, and adopted that up by beating Peterborough by the identical scoreline away from house within the FA Cup final weekend.
Leeds could have the chance to shut to inside 4 factors of the promotion locations in the event that they win, with second-place Ipswich City not in motion till 17:30 and going through a tricky sport at house to fellow high-flyers Sunderland. Nonetheless, Daniel Farke will not count on a simple journey towards Cardiff, who picked up a 2-2 draw at Elland Street on the opening weekend of the season and sit simply three factors outdoors the play-off locations themselves.
Farke has received a boost with goalkeeper Illan Meslier set to return after a three-match ban for his pink card within the 2-1 Boxing Day defeat to Preston, whereas Sam Byram, Joe Gelhardt and Ian Poveda, who’s been unwell, are all anticipated to make the journey throughout the Welsh border.
Cooper joins Struijk on sidelines
The unhealthy information for Farke is that he is wanting considerably gentle at centre-back, with Pascal Struijk set to overlook a 3rd consecutive sport and Liam Cooper now considered a “major doubt”.
Phil Hay experiences that Cooper missed coaching on Friday due to a groin drawback, and his supervisor consequently expects to be with out him towards the Bluebirds.
Cooper’s management might be missed
Cooper has made 12 Championship appearances for Leeds this season and began seven of these, together with the final two. Whereas he hasn’t all the time been within the XI, the data suggests he might be one of the best companion for Joe Rodon on the again.
Certainly, amongst Leeds’ defenders, solely the Welshman has posted a better passing accuracy (91.4% vs 90.8), extra interceptions (1.4 per sport vs 1.1), extra blocks (0.9 vs 0.6) and gained extra aerial duels (2.6 vs 2.2). When Cooper begins, Leeds concede a mean of lower than one aim per sport (0.86 to be exact, or six in seven video games), however when he would not, the common climbs to precisely 1.0 (19 in 19). Which will sound like a small distinction, however it may be decisive within the tougher away video games.
The Whites are reportedly involved in a deal to signal the left-back this month.
Cooper’s worth additionally extends to the intangibles, after all, because the membership captain. His fellow Scotsman Ally McCoist says his leadership skills are evident in how he organises the again 4, calling him “sensible” at “marshalling the troops on the again” and dictating the peak of the defensive position. Certainly, that could be an enormous a part of the explanation for Leeds’ robust defensive file when he is within the workforce.
With out Cooper, Farke might restore Charlie Cresswell to the aspect, however his lack of sharpness could also be a priority provided that he is not started a match since August, so it appears extra probably that he’ll drop Ethan Ampadu into the backline, the place he is additionally capable of operating.