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Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper unavailable for Leeds United until March due to injuries

Written by corres2

Leeds United pair Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper will be sidelined until March due to their respective hamstring injuries.

Centre-back Cooper picked up his hamstring problem in the early stages of Leeds’ 2-2 draw with Brentford on December 5, while Phillips was replaced by Mateusz Klich 10 minutes into the second half of the game.

Head coach Marcelo Bielsa said: “We’ve been recovering players, even if Phillips and Cooper will return in March.

“Even if [Jamie] Shackleton comes back at the end of January, start of February, the amount of players we have will be increasing. We will see where we are in January if an alternative comes up that we take advantage of.”

Leeds United’s Liam Cooper leaves the pitch with an injury during their clash with Brentford in early December

Later asked if Cooper and Phillips returning in March was a worst-case scenario, Bielsa insisted: “No, that is what we expect.”

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Leeds striker Patrick Bamford says he enjoys playing on Boxing Day, but questions why some teams are only given 48 hours of recovery time over Christmas

The pair are among many Leeds players out injured with Jamie Shackleton, Charlie Cresswell, Rodrigo Moreno and Pascal Struijk also currently sidelined.

Junior Firpo, Diego Llorente, Robin Koch and Dan James are available for Sunday’s match against Burnley at Elland Road.

“For the following game, we recover Junior, James, Diego Llorente. Koch had already returned and (Jack) Harrison also, who basically in the last game didn’t play because he picked up an injury as soon as the game started but he has also recovered,” Bielsa said.

Patrick Bamford was another to suffer an issue during that costly 2-2 draw with Brentford but he is fit again. However, Bielsa is cautious about using last season’s top goalscorer this weekend, given his previous return was short-lived.

He added: “This is the fourth week since Patrick’s injury. Patrick is healthy but he hasn’t played for four weeks now and it puts in doubt the convenience of him playing without having done any football training sessions.”

With Leeds’ injury and Covid-19 problems clearing up, Bielsa has no doubts about the clash with Burnley going ahead.

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Diego Llorente admits there have been ‘ups and downs’ in Leeds’ season but says Marcelo Bielsa’s team must stick to their identity if they are to improve in the second half of the campaign

Leeds’ form in the Premier League has suffered due to multiple injuries to key players. They shipped 14 goals in their last three games against Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal and are five points above the relegation places.

Their games against Liverpool on Boxing Day and Aston Villa on December 28 were both postponed due to injuries and coronavirus cases within Bielsa’s squad.

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