Leeds United will be without captain Liam Cooper and young central midfielder Jamie Shackleton for six and four weeks respectively. Fortunately there is an international break coming after this weekend so they will miss fewer matches than at other times of the season.
| #LUFC captain Liam Cooper ruled out for up to 6 weeks with a groin injury, whilst Jamie Shackleton's hamstring injury will keep him sidelined for up to 4 weeks— Leeds United (@LUFC) October 2, 2019
Newly capped Scotland international Cooper had to leave the pitch after 34 minutes against West Bromwich Albion. The injury was originally thought to be a consequence of a challenge by Wales’ Hal Robson-Kanu but the club have announced that it was in fact a groin injury. The injury will keep him out for six weeks.
That’s 2 big losses! Cooper is a massive loss as it leaves us with only 1 actual CB for the next 6 weeks and Shackleton is also a big loss as he was brilliant last week, at least he can hopefully be replaced though if Forshaw gets back!! #lufc— Super Leeds United (@superlufc1919) October 2, 2019
The injury will most likely present a chance for one-time Switzerland international Gaetano Berardi to claim a starting berth, although his lack of height could be a problem against a tall and physical Millwall side. The other option for Leeds could be to play Luke Ayling at centre-back but that seems less likely.
As Under-23 player Pascal Struijk is also injured it could lead to at least a place on the bench for one of Leif Davis or Oliver Casey who have impressed in the Under-23 side. Although Marcelo Bielsa could just refuse to use centre-backs on the bench.
Leif davis was brilliant in cup game against stoke hope he gets a chance #lufc— FAIR PLAY LEEDS (@2019LeedsUnited) October 2, 2019
Jamie Shackleton will be out for a month with a Hamstring injury sustained during his excellent first half performance against West Brom. With Adam Forshaw having injury problems Leeds will be really hoping that Forshaw will return quickly or Leeds will be short in central midfield.
So if Forshaw (hip) is fit he will be the straight forward replacement for Shackleton. At centre back would you stick with Berardi (who played very well I thought last night) or prefer say Ayling or give Struijk a go whilst Cooper is out? #lufc— Adam Pope (@apopey) October 2, 2019
If Forshaw doesn’t return it will probably mean Poland’s Mateusz Klich drops into a deeper midfield role, with the number 10 spot taken by Tyler Roberts, although a return to fitness for Pablo Hernandez could allow him to play that role. It would also mean a potential place in the squad for Robbie Gotts as a central midfielder, or Mateusz Bogusz as a back-up as number 10.
How big a miss will Cooper and Shackleton be? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @ThruItAllLUFC.