Liam Cooper as cheeky Jesse Marsh juggles Leeds absentees

Leeds captain Liam Cooper is among manager Jesse Marsh’s absence ahead of the first Premier League game against Wolves.

After narrowly avoiding a fall on the final day of last season, Elland Road have been active in the transfer market in an attempt to make up for the departures of star players Calvin Phillips and Rafinha.

Marsh has been delighted with how his players have developed during his first pre-season, but Leeds will be left without seven first-team players in Saturday’s season opener against Wolves.


Jesse Marsh faces an exhausted squad at the season opener (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We still have a good group,” said the Leeds manager.

“Dan James is suspended for one more match, so he will be out this weekend. Tomorrow night he will play 90 minutes in the U21 game.

“And it was at his request, so I think it’s incredible and really good professionalism for him to know that getting 90 minutes is good for him.

“Liam Cooper had an Achilles tendon problem from his off-season program and treadmill running and took a long time to get back into training.

“He was finally on the pitch this week, doing some individual work, but he won’t be here this weekend. We hope that next week he will be in team training.

“Junior Firpo got scanned today and he is ahead of schedule where we hoped so we can be more aggressive with him but I would say he is still probably two to three weeks away from being allowed to play. .

“Adam Forshaw has made some really good progress with a little knee MCL problem – it’s not a pure MCL strain, it’s a bit different – but we’re hoping he’ll be training next week.

“Luc Ayling has made significant progress since his surgery and is ahead of schedule. We try not to push him too hard, but he shows really positive signs. He has been on the field and we hope that in a couple of weeks he will be able to start training.

“Today on the field was Luis Sinisterra, who looked very good, getting closer and closer to his maximum speed, so I assume that he will be training next week and hopefully be ready next weekend. Let’s see.

“Stuart Dallas has made really good progress and had a couple of checkups after a major surgery and they feel like he’s on the right track and that he’s looking better and better, so that’s a good sign.”

Marsh said Polish youth Mateusz Bogusz is also recuperating and revealed that 19-year-old Dutch goalkeeper Dani van den Heuvel was involved in a serious accident over the summer.

“He had a car accident with the U20 team in Holland and it was a pretty serious neck injury where he broke several vertebrae,” the Leeds boss said.


Dani van den Heuvel seriously injured in car crash (Richard Sellers/PA)

“We were very worried about him, not even as a football injury, but as a life situation.

“But he shows really good progress. He returned to the gym, and over time we will build it up. But it will probably be a couple of months before he can train and be ready to go.”

One player fit to start against Wolverhampton is Patrick Bamford, who scored twice against Cagliari on Sunday after playing his first 90 minutes after an injury-ridden season ended with a foot problem in March.

“It’s been a huge week for him,” Marsh said. “He looks great. He looks fit, he looks strong, he looks sharp.

“The good thing, and also that Patrick is getting closer and closer to 100%, is that we were really able to work out how we want him to look from a tactical point of view. “