Phil Hay has warned that Jean-Kevin Augustin might not replace Patrick Bamford in Leeds United’s starting XI, despite the striker’s increased fitness levels.
Leeds signed Augustin in the January transfer window, but the on-loan striker hasn’t had the desired impact at Elland Road.
So far, he’s made three appearances from the bench and picked up a hamstring injury, with Bamford continuing as Marcelo Bielsa’s as Bielsa’s first choice, moving to 13 goals in total for the season.
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Yet, during the EFL’s forced postponement, Augustin has stepped up his fitness levels and is itching to return when the season can resume; there’s plans in place for a return to training as early as next week for Leeds.
Despite that, however, Hay has played down the prospect of Augustin replacing Bamford in the starting XI, citing how Bielsa has unwavering faith with the latter.
He wrote on The Athletic Q&A: “He’s back in shape now but one of the lessons you learn from two years of watching Bielsa is that Bielsa loves continuity and prefers not to mess around with his line-up.
“Which is another way of saying that the chances of Augustin displacing Patrick Bamford are very slim.”
The remaining nine games of the season, if played, will see Leeds go in pursuit of a Premier League return.
Currently, the Whites are top of the Championship table, a point clear of West Brom and, more importantly, seven ahead of third-placed Fulham.
Bamford is Bielsa’s man. That was the case when Eddie Nketiah was around and it was the case when Augustin came in.
Despite Augustin working on his fitness, you imagine it’ll be the case when the season resumes.
However, Augustin being fully fit gives Leeds another dimension, which could be invaluable in the pursuit of the Premier League.
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