Leeds United v Derby County: Pablo Hernandez a doubt for Rams clash but Liam Cooper in 'good condition' to return

DOUBTFUL: Pablo Hernandez, right.
DOUBTFUL: Pablo Hernandez, right.
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LEEDS UNITED playmaker Pablo Hernandez is a doubt for Friday night's Championship clash against Derby County at Elland Road but skipper Liam Cooper is in good shape to return from a knee injury.

Hernandez has a knock that the Spaniard picked up even before being rested for United's FA Cup loss at Queens Park Rangers at the weekend and Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa will not play the 33-year-old if there is any risk to making the injury worse.

But skipper Cooper is ready to resume action having picked up a knee injury in the win at Sheffield United on December 1 and having played an hour for United's under-23s against Hull City on Monday night,

Bielsa said of Hernandez: "It will be very hard for him to be available for the next game

"I think he could play the game on Friday - I can't say 100 per cent that he won't play but if there is even a small chance I wouldn't like to take any risks with him that he gets injured again.

"I think if it is up to him he would play the game because he is a generous player. But I think that he should only play if he can't get worse."

Asked if Cooper would come back into the team to start at centre-back, Bielsa said: "I went to see the game against Hull City.

"He played an hour, he is in good condition to come back to the team. He has a very good first pass, he is good in the air, he is our captain and he deserves to be our captain and when he is inside the team he always makes the team stronger."

Bielsa also provided an update on left back Barry Douglas who was also ruled out of Sunday's FA Cup loss at Loftus Road.

Asked how long Douglas would be out for, Bielsa said: "Between two and three weeks but I can't give you a final answer to that."

Gaetano Berardi, Stuart Dallas, Patrick Bamford and Izzy Brown also remain sidelined following injuries while Kalvin Phillips is suspended.

Bielsa also revealed that both Kemar Roofe and Pontus Jansson had suffered from small problems before the QPR clash but both are now back fit.

"Jansson had a small problem that is now over," said Bielsa.

"Roofe also had a small problem that is now also over."