Leeds boss Neil Redfearn comments on defensive partnership, Cooper injury update

Elland Road Revie Stand

Leeds boss Neil Redfearn comments on his centre-backs.

Leeds head coach Neil Redfearn has praised defenders Giuseppe Bellusci and Sol Bamba who helped keep a clean sheet at Reading.

It was Bellusci's first game back since his suspension for the red card against Bournemouth, never having played alongside Palermo loanee Bamba before, who was making only his third appearance for the club.

Bamba was even handed the captaincy, such is Redfearn's faith in the former Leicester defender, with Liam Cooper out injured.

After the 2-0 win, Redfearn told LUTV: "They are a good balance, they read the play really well, they nipped in and intercepted things.

"I thought they were tough when they needed to be, got in good positions for crosses, and cleared lines well. They were the bedrock of the performance really."

Young defender Dario del Fabro was on the bench as cover, and is likely to remain there, with Redfearn admitting Liam Cooper is unlikely to make it back in time for the weekend clash with Millwall.

He said: "Coops might be struggling a bit, he might be two or three games. It was a knock and it was a bad knock. Rudy [Austin] we might see him, Gaetano [Berardi] they're just [suffering with] viruses but too ill to travel."

Cooper's expected absence therefore gives Bamba and Bellusci a chance to develop their partnership, and give their boss a tough decision when the injured defender regains fitness.

With Scott Wootton also able to cover in case of further injury, and Berardi able to fill in for him at right-back, Leeds have options beyond the inexperienced Del Fabro, and are unlikely to miss Jason Pearce, sold to Wigan during the transfer window.

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