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Marcelo Bielsa unsure whether to recall Liam Cooper

Marcelo Bielsa unsure whether to recall Liam Cooper
© Reuters
Liam Cooper is fit again ahead of Saturday's clash with Burnley.

Marcelo Bielsa admits he faces a difficult decision over whether to recall fit-again skipper Liam Cooper to his starting line-up.

Cooper has missed Leeds' last four matches due to suspension and injury but is available for Saturday lunchtime's Premier League game at Burnley.

"He has recovered his health, he hasn't got any injuries which prevent him from participating," said Bielsa, who has no new injury concerns.

Cooper, right, was shown a straight red card in last month's win at Manchester City
Cooper, right, was shown a straight red card in last month's win at Manchester City (Michael Regan/PA)

Cooper recently completed a three-game ban following his dismissal in last month's win at Manchester City and missed last Saturday's victory against Tottenham due to a glute injury.

Pascal Struijk has filled in alongside Diego Llorente in central defence and the pair have formed an impressive partnership in Cooper's absence.

Since the victory at the Etihad Stadium, Leeds have drawn against Liverpool and Manchester United and bounced back from a disappointing defeat at Brighton with one of their best displays of the season against Spurs.

"Pascal has had very good performances and Cooper is our captain. He's also had great performance over a long period of time. Both things are valid," Bielsa said.

 Struijk, left, has started in Leeds' last four matches
Struijk, left, has started in Leeds' last four matches (Paul Ellis/PA)

"This sudden appearance of Pascal and everything Cooper has done establishes a big difference because to play well is accessible, but to play well over a long period of time is very difficult.

"As you can see, I can't give you a concrete response because I don't have an absolute idea.

"But what is ideal is that for any one position we have more than one option. This improves Pascal, it improves Cooper and it also improves Leeds."

Midfielder Kalvin Phillips, winger Raphinha and forward Rodrigo are also pushing for recalls to the starting XI after recently recovering from injuries.

When asked if he had some difficult choices to make over his selection for Saturday, Bielsa said: "Not having injured players shouldn't be interpreted as something difficult, but I understand what you are asking me.

"Having so many options, the decisions become more difficult. But it's important to consider that to be healthy is the primary condition to opt for a space in the team, but to be ready physically, sportingly, is not only to be healthy and to have a good physical performance, but to transform this into a football performance."

Bielsa confirmed winger Helder Costa is not expected be sidelined for long after a back injury sustained against Manchester United ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Leeds have lost only one of their last eight Premier League games as they continue their pursuit of a top-half finish.

Burnley are in 15th place after Monday night's 2-0 win at Fulham guaranteed them a sixth successive season in the top flight.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina21131246
JapanJapan175830
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
AustraliaAustralia1031427
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
EFL Cup
Olympic Games Men's Football
Scottish Premiership
Pre-Season Friendlies
Portuguese Super Cup
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Scottish Championship
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Scottish League Two
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Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
League of Ireland Premier
Belarusian Premier League
2.Bundesliga
Ligue 2
Major League Soccer
Brasileiro
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
Chinese Super League
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