Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cooper has heaped praise on Cheikhou Kouyate ahead of tonight’s game with Leeds United.

The Reds boss has been speaking with Nottinghamshire Live ahead of the clash and he’s glad to have the 33-year-old back.

Kouyate suffered a cruel injury at the World Cup. He was stretchered off in Senegal’s first game of the tournament against Holland and spent four months out.

Cooper praise Kouyate
(Photo; Catherine Ivill; Getty Images)

The experienced player signed for the Reds during the summer after leaving Crystal Palace on a free transfer.

He made 14 appearances during the first half of the campaign and showcased that he’s still got plenty left in the tank as a central midfielder.

Now, Cooper is delighted to have the proven Premier League player back available for selection.

He told Nottinghamshire Live: “He’s in contention to start. Cheikhou has great experience in the Premier League and he’s a big voice in the dressing room.

“He’s a fantastic character, a great guy, very happy, but very committed as well. He’s a real man’s man in terms of leadership.”

Cooper now has to decide whether he throws Kouyate in from the off tonight. Remo Freuler, Danilo and Orel Mangala all played well on Saturday and that gives Cooper a conundrum.

Cooper delivers praise on Kouyate ahead of Leeds clash

Forest will definitely need their wise, older heads during their battle against Premier League survival.

Kouyate is certainly one of those and he’s done a really useful job when he’s been called upon by Cooper this season.

Cooper praise Kouyate
(Photo; Jon Hobley; MI News; NurPhoto; Getty Images)

A game under the lights at Elland Road is perhaps exactly the type of game for Kouyate.

He loves the blood and thunder of a battle and the Reds will certainly be up against it against Jai Gracia’s men this evening.

With Ryan Yates injured and Joe Worrall likely to be on the bench, Cooper will need leaders this evening and perhaps that will lead him to Kouyate.

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