Leeds United went top of the English Championship table following their 1-0 victory at Reading last night, with Jack Harrison’s 87th-minute header securing all three points for Marcelo Bielsa’s side in an otherwise dour encounter.
The visitors created only a handful of clear-cut chances, with Patrick Bamford and Stuart Dallas coming close to scoring.
The Leeds striker has started all of his side’s 18 league games this season, but that wouldn’t have been the case if Arsenal loanee Eddie Nketiah hadn’t got injured ahead of the Queens Park Rangers clash earlier this month.
With many calling for Bamford to be dropped after a run of nine games without a goal or assist, Bielsa was resolved to hand the youngster his first league start until the injury struck.
Leeds have since won all four games in Nketiah’s absence, with Bamford scoring twice and assisting once.
The 26-year-old is set to retain his starting berth going forward, and despite the harsh criticism he has come under from the fans, the Leeds’ dressing room remains firmly behind him.
According to The Athletic’s Phil Hay, his teammates find criticism of Bamford hard to take and are rigidly behind his retention of a starting place.
The striker brings more than goals to the table, and he remains key to Bielsa’s plans in the final third.
With six league goals and two assists thus far, not every Leeds fan is convinced of Bamford’s quality, but he has the backing of his teammates and the head coach, and he will lead the line when Middlesbrough come visiting on Saturday.