Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa undecided over whether to recall captain Liam Cooper

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.