This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Leeds United missed a golden opportunity to return to the top of the Championship table after they were beaten 2-0 by Cardiff City on Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Junior Hoilett and Robert Glatzel proved to be enough for the Bluebirds on the day, as Neil Harris’ side moved up to seventh in the second tier standings.
It means that Leeds sit second in the Championship table with eight matches remaining, and they’ll surely be frustrated at not being able to pull clear of third-placed Fulham.
One player that struggled to make a notable impact against the Bluebirds was Patrick Bamford, who has led the line for Leeds for the majority of this year’s campaign.
Bamford has scored 13 goals in his 39 appearances for Leeds, and could potentially come under pressure from Tyler Roberts for his starting spot, with the former West Brom man not being given much of an opportunity to impress this season.
But should Bamford be dropped in favour of Roberts in Leeds’ next match against Fulham after his quiet match against Cardiff?
I don’t think we’ll see that.
It’s the same discussion that’s been going on for a while at Leeds and Marcelo Bielsa is bound to keep Bamford in the side given what he brings to his system.
Roberts is a good player and I could see him staying in the side at the moment but I don’t think the Argentine manager is going to be changing Bamford any time soon.
He certainly needs to be putting the ball in the net more – especially in this run-in – and it remains to be seen just what’s going to happen if he has a few more games like he did at the weekend.
At the moment, though, I don’t see it changing.
I don’t think Bielsa can afford to be too rash with his team selections ahead of the final eight games of the season, nor do I believe that he will drop Bamford after one poor performance.
Bielsa has shown unwavering faith in Bamford over the past couple of seasons, particularly this term, with Eddie Nketiah previously banging down the door for a place in the side before he was ultimately recalled by Nketiah.
Bielsa is clearly a fan of Bamford and this isn’t the first time the latter has come under criticism, but he is their leading goalscorer for a reason and he has popped up with some vital goals this term.
I quite like Tyler Roberts in the attacking midfield role and I think he should stay there, too, as he has adjusted to that role really well indeed.
Can you score full marks in this Leeds United quiz?
I wouldn’t make that decision yet.
This is nothing new, we’ve seen it several times this season with Bamford and his lack of ruthlessness in front of goal.
There is no denying that Bamford did not enjoy the best of games on Sunday, and was comfortably marshalled by the Cardiff defence – but you have to afford the striker more first-team minutes, especially given the inevitable rustiness after the lengthy enforced break.
Bielsa and Leeds fans will know what Bamford can offer the team other than goals, and I don’t think dropping him now would do the player’s confidence any good as we head into the vital business end of the season.
Roberts has looked bright in a Whites shirt, but doing this would surely knock Bamford’s confidence at a time in which Leeds need it more than ever.