Time for Leeds youngster Paudie O'Connor after Liam Cooper's injury?

Liam Cooper of Millwall is sent off during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Millwall at Elland Road on January 20, 2018 in Leeds, England.

Leeds skipper Liam Cooper suffered an injury to his left foot against Wolves.

Liam Cooper of Leeds United in action with Andreas Weimann of Derby County during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United at iPro Stadium on February 21, 2018...

Paul Heckingbottom has a decision to make at centre-back ahead of Leeds United's clash against Reading on Saturday, after Liam Cooper limped off in the first half of the Whites' 3-0 defeat to Wolves on Wednesday night.

The Leeds skipper appeared to suffer a foot injury, as goals from Romain Saiss, Willy Boly and Benik Afobe downed Heckingbottom's men despite having home advantage at Elland Road.

Without skipper Cooper, Heckingbottom needs to make a decision who to partner Pontus Jansson as the Whites look to earn just a second win in seven games under the former Barnsley manager this weekend at the Madjeski Stadium.

Paul Heckingbottom Leeds manager gestures during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Leeds United at iPro Stadium on February 21, 2018 in Derby, England.

Matthew Pennington replaced former Chesterfield defender Cooper in the 36th minute against Wolves but the Everton loanee's form has been questionable this season - his last showing against Bristol City being extremely poor.

He remains the favourite to replace Cooper as he is the safe option, but Heckingbottom is known for his faith in youth and he showed that on Wednesday night by replacing Felix Wiedwald in goal with Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

Could Heckingbottom delve into Carlos Corberan's Under-23 side for a second time and promote a central defender to replace Cooper ahead of this Saturday's Championship clash?

If he were to do so, then the obvious call-up would be Ireland youth international and second string captain Paudie O'Connor, who continues to earn rave reviews for his performances with the development team.

Conor Shaughnessy was promoted from the Under-23 side this season and the Irishman has also impressed but he remains on the sidelines with a long-term problem. O'Connor, then, may be Heckingbottom's best option.

Known for his leadership, strength and aerial prowess at the back, all 6ft 3in of the 20-year-old should be given a chance to shine against Reading on Saturday in place of Cooper.

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