What does the future hold for Matthew Pennington at Leeds United?

Matthew Pennington of Everton celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on April 1, 2017 in Liverpool, England.

What does the future hold for Everton loanee Matthew Pennington at Leeds United?

Liam Cooper of Leeds (L) battles for the ball with Neal Murphy of Brentford during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Leeds United at Griffin Park on November 4, 2017 in...

Leeds United head coach Paul Heckingbottom told The Yorkshire Evening Post this week that centre-back Liam Cooper is unlikely to be back in training "for a while".

The United captain went off injured in the defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers last week and Heckingbottom's comments don't inspire much optimism regarding Cooper's prognosis.

Fortunately, Leeds have a ready-made replacement in the form of Matthew Pennington and how he fares over the coming weeks and months is likely to determine whether the Whites try and sign him permanently.

Pennginton, on a season-long loan from Everton, has been pretty hit and miss during his stint in West Yorkshire so far, but if he can rediscover the kind of form that he showed early on in the season then it would go a long way to convincing Leeds' Director of Football Victor Orta that he deserves a long-term deal.

Phil Jagielka (L) of Everton celebrates scoring his team's third goal with Matthew Pennington during the Premier League match between Everton and Leicester City at Goodison Park on April 9,...

At the moment, you could argue that the Championship club, who sit 13th in the table, need a far better defender than both Pennington and Cooper to partner Pontus Jansson next season.

But if the Everton product proves himself an able deputy for Cooper during his absence then maybe, just maybe, Leeds should sign him up. 

After all, he is only 23 and bound to improve, but anything less than an exemplary end to a disappointing season for the Whites and perhaps better options should be explored this summer.

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