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Leeds legend: I'd be shocked if Liam Cooper doesn't start against Blackburn

Elland Road

Leeds United legend Eddie Gray has backed Liam Cooper to start against Blackburn Rovers.

Leeds United legend Eddie Gray has backed Liam Cooper to retain his place against Blackburn Rovers.

Cooper has been in the side in central defence for the last two games, thanks to suspensions to Jason Pearce and Giuseppe Bellusci.

It was Bellusci who sat out the last game, having picked up a fifth yellow card of the season against Charlton, in a game in which he gave away a decisive penalty in a 2-2 draw.

Gray told Radio Yorkshire: "I'd be very surprised if he didn't line up against Blackburn."

It's quite a vote of confidence for the 23-year-old summer signing from Chesterfield, with Gray believeing the upcoming matches are Leeds' biggest of the season so far.

"The biggest tests are yet to come. The next three or four matches will tell us what we're capable of doing in the league."

Leeds are currently in 15th in the Championship, eight points off the play-off spots. They face eighth placed Blackburn next, before hosting table-toppers Derby County, and then travelling to fourth placed Ipswich.

Under Neil Redfearn the side have shown progress, but it's no good getting carried away at present after beating bottom side Blackpool last weekend.

Gray certainly believes he saw enough in Cooper in that fixture, and the game against Charlton, to suggest he deserves to feature in the crucial fixtures.

The defender is not the only new addition who Gray rates, also praising attackers Mirco Antenucci and Souleymane Doukara.

"Antenucci, I think he's performed well all season. Look at him and Doukara. They've got a good goal return for a side not firing on all cylinders."

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