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 manager Marcelo Bielsa has made a key decision ahead of the visit of Bristol City this weekend, with the Whites looking to get their automatic promotion challenge back on track after a run of results that has seen them only pick up one win from their last five outings.
Bielsa has decided to stick with long-term first-choice striker Patrick Bamford, meaning loan signing Jean-Kevin Augustin will have to make do with a spot on the bench.
So, is Bielsa making the right call here by sticking with Bamford and not starting Augustin?
“It’s the right call.
“I’m not convinced that Augustin is ready to start a full game and provide the same energy levels and output up front as Bamford has been this season.
“While Bamford has been in woeful form and would be dropped under the vast majority of other Championship managers, Marcelo Bielsa selects him for a reason and the system suffers wen Bamford departs.
“Augustin is certainly of a higher calibre striker than Bamford but having not played much for Monaco, it would be unwise to just throw him in at the deep end and expect results.
“Beyond Bristol, I can see Augustin getting a starting berth, but for now that position should remain Bamford’s, as there’s the guarantee that he’ll put in the groundwork that makes his role so important.”
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“Leeds United are struggling to put the ball in the back of the net, and of course Patrick Bamford is a massive part of that.
“Something needs to change for the Whites and perhaps the use of some of their January signings would help.
“Jean-Kevin Augustin arrived with the hope of adding a lethal touch to the Leeds attack, but so far has struggled for gametime.
“The argument is that he’s not fit enough, but the only way for him to build up his match sharpness is to play games.
“Even if he only lasts 60-70 minutes, Augustin could add the spark that Leeds need to get themselves back to winning ways.
“As for Patrick Bamford, he’s struggling at the moment and perhaps a break would do him and his confidence the world of good.”
“The question everyone thinks they’ve got the answer to, but probably the one nobody truly does.
“Bielsa loves Bamford and everything that he brings to this Leeds side; his link-up is excellent, he runs his blood to water and defenders hate playing against him.
“Leeds lost nothing when Augustin replaced him at Griffin Park, but give how integrated Bamford is, it would have always been such a surprise to see Bielsa make a bold move.
“10-15 minutes for Augustin will bed him in enough in the next few weeks, then a start might be on the cards.”