Soccer-Leeds' Phillips, Cooper sidelined until March, says Bielsa

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Leeds United v Crystal Palace - Elland Road, Leeds, Britain - November 30, 2021 Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips celebrates after the match REUTERS/Craig Brough

(Reuters) - Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips and defender Liam Cooper have been ruled out until March with hamstring injuries, manager Marcelo Bielsa said on Friday.

The pair have not played since Leeds drew 2-2 with Brentford in a Premier League clash on Dec. 5, with the team losing all three of their games in their absence.

"We've been recovering players, even if Phillips and Cooper will return in March," Bielsa told reporters before Leeds host Burnley on Sunday.

"Even if (Jamie) Shackleton comes back at the end of January, start of February, the amount of players we have will be increasing. We will see where we are in January if an alternative comes up that we take advantage of."

Bielsa said striker Patrick Bamford, who also last played in the draw with Brentford, was back from injury but did not confirm his availability for the Burnley game.

"Patrick is healthy but he hasn't played for four weeks now. That puts into doubt the convenience of playing without any training sessions," he said.

Leeds have not played since Dec. 18 and had two league games against Liverpool and Aston Villa postponed due to COVID-19 and injuries.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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