Leeds United face big decision over injured star ahead of Aston Villa test

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Leeds United have enjoyed their start to life in the top flight.

After 16 years away the Whites secured promotion to the Premier League after running away with the second tier title.

It was expected that the club would struggle to adapt to life in the fast lane, but instead Leeds have relished it.

Seven points from their first five games has seen the Whites settle into the top half of the table - a position that they'd no doubt be thrilled to retain over the course of the season.

But doing so is easier said than done.

Losing to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening was a real blow for Marcelo Bielsa's side, and the hope is that they can put it right against Aston Villa.

A key part of that defeat was the absence of Liam Cooper.

The Leeds skipper was ruled out of Monday night's game after dropping out in the warm-up through injury.

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While Cooper is a doubt for the clash with Dean Smith's side, Noel Whelan has insisted that the club need him back as soon as possible to continue their good start.

Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said: "I think Struijk did very well against Wolves.

“He looked very assured at the back, very competitive in the air and his ball distribution was excellent.

“That said, it would be nice to have Liam Cooper back.

"They did the right thing pulling him out of the team because you could see him holding his groin in the warm up. There is no point risking him when Llorente is going to be out for another three weeks.

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“We need him back as quickly as possible because we are light in that centre-half position now with those injuries.”

GIVEMESPORT'S Phil Spencer says...

Leeds United will badly miss Liam Cooper.

The skipper is absolutely key to the success that the Whites have enjoyed in recent seasons.

He'll hope that this can continue.

While Marcelo Bielsa deserves plenty of credit, he would be nowhere without his captain.

Cooper is the beating heart of Leeds, and if they can get him fit then it can only serve them well.

A clash with Aston Villa is a big match in the battle to avoid relegation, and so Leeds need to do everything that they can to get the three points.

If that means risking Cooper, then so be it.

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