Leeds team news: Liam Cooper is out while defiant Jesse Marsch juggles absentees


Leeds captain Liam Cooper is among manager Jesse Marsch’s numerous absences ahead of the Premier League opener against Wolves.

After narrowly avoiding relegation on the final day of last season, Elland Road’s side were active in the transfer market as they attempted to make up for the departures of star men Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha.

Marsch has been delighted with the development of his players in his first pre-season but Leeds will be without seven first-team players in Saturday’s season opener against Wolves.

“We still have a good group,” said the Leeds manager.

“Dan James is suspended for one more game so he is out this weekend. He will play 90 minutes in the (under)21-year-olds’ game tomorrow night.

“And that was at his request, so I think it’s incredible and really good professionalism for him to know that it’s good for him to get 90 minutes.

“Liam Cooper had an Achilles problem from his off-season program and running on a treadmill and it has taken a long time for him to get back into training.

“He was finally on the pitch this week and has done individual work but he will not be available this weekend. We hope that he will be in team training next week.

“Junior Firpo was examined today and he’s ahead of schedule where we were hoping we could be more aggressive with him but I’d say he’s probably two to three weeks away from eligibility.

“Adam Forshaw has been making really good progress with a small knee MCL issue – it’s not pure MCL strain, it’s a bit different – but we’re hoping he’ll be training next week.

Jesse Marsch faces an impoverished squad for the season opener (Mike Egerton/PA)

(PA wire)

“Luke Ayling has made great strides post surgery and is ahead of schedule. We try not to put too much pressure on him, but he’s showing really positive signs. He was on the pitch and we hope he can be in training in a few weeks.

“Luis Sinisterra was on the pitch today and looking very good, he was getting closer and closer to his top speed so I would expect him to be in practice next week and hopefully available for the weekend after that. Just take a look.

“Stuart Dallas has been progressing really well and has had a few check-ups after the major surgery and they feel like he’s on the right track and he’s looking better and better, so that’s a good sign.”

Marsch said Poland youngster Mateusz Bogusz is also working his way back into shape and revealed that 19-year-old Dutch goalkeeper Dani van den Heuvel was involved in a serious accident in the summer.

“He had a car accident with the U20s in Holland and it was a pretty bad neck injury which broke a few vertebrae,” said the Leeds manager.

Dani van den Heuvel suffered serious injuries in a car accident (Richard Sellers/PA)

(PA Archive)

“We were really worried about him, not even as a football injury but as a life situation.

“But he’s making really good progress. He’s back in the gym and we’ll be building him up over time. But it will likely be a few months before he’s eligible for training and ready to go.

One player fit against Wolves is Patrick Bamford, who scored twice against Cagliari on Sunday as he completed his first 90 minutes since ending an injury-plagued season with a foot problem in March.

“It’s been a huge week for him,” said Marsch. “He looks great. He looks fit, he looks strong, he looks sharp.

“The good thing is not only that we’re getting Patrick closer and closer to 100 per cent, but actually we’ve been able to work through what we want him to look like tactically. “ Leeds team news: Liam Cooper is out while defiant Jesse Marsch juggles absentees

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