Jesse Marsch reckons Patrick Bamford will make a cameo when Leeds welcome Aston Villa on the sidelines at Elland Road on Thursday after three months.
It’s been an injury-plagued season for Bamford, who has played just six Premier League games this season, the last of which came on December 5 when ankle and hip problems were followed by a problem on the bottom of his foot.
He was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Leicester, where his presence was sorely missed as Leeds were unedited with 19 shots on target but failed to break through the inspired Kasper Schmeichel’s net.
But new Leeds head coach Marsch, whose side are just two points above the relegation zone, expects Bamford to get some playing time, albeit not from the start, as they try to do their best to survive against Villa.
“I don’t think Patrick is ready to be there from the start,” said the American. “Let’s see how the week goes but I think he’ll be ready to put in a few minutes next Thursday.
“Patrick is back in training, he’s going to continue to develop, we’re going to keep getting him fitter and sharper and sharper and then we can count on him for those 11 games.”
Marsch insisted Bamford would have had just 10 minutes at Leicester at best, so opted to use the last of his three substitutions to send Tyler Roberts on with fifteen minutes to go to level.
Leeds dominated for a long time but missed a number of chances, with Schmeichel in particular making excellent saves on Rodrigo and Raphinha before falling behind when Harvey Barnes coolly pushed home after 67 minutes.
Rather than introduce Bamford, Leeds’ top scorer last season with 17 goals, Marsch turned to Roberts, who pinched his hamstring as he stretched to challenge Daniel Amartey, with the Welshman now a doubt for the Villa game.
“Patrick was 10 minutes max so obviously we want to get him on the pitch as soon as possible but I felt like we had to make a change before that 10 minute mark,” added Marsch.
“Then of course we put Tyler on the field and it causes him to have a weird clash in the box and he has a slight hamstring strain and then we’re almost down a man in the final stages.
“We’ll see exactly what’s going on with Tyler.”
Barnes has scored a goal in every Premier League game he has played against Leeds, taking his tally to four from four after rolling over Illan Meslier midway through the second half following a decent brace with Kelechi Iheanacho.
“I have a good record against them, don’t I,” Barnes told LCFC TV. “I don’t know what it is, if it’s the style of play they have or if they’re just my lucky team.
“I always manage to score against them and may it stay that way for a long time. The goal came at a good time for us. It was consistent for a lot of the game but we couldn’t quite get that control so it was good for us to keep going in the game.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/new-leeds-boss-jesse-marsch-hoping-for-patrick-bamford-return-next-week-41416757.html New Leeds boss Jesse Marsch is hoping for the return of Patrick Bamford next week