By Will Butcher

Former Leeds striker Noel Whelan is firmly of the belief that under-fire striker Chris Wood can be the 20-goal-a-season man the club so desperately need.

The New Zealand captain has had to face scrutiny during a difficult start to the season, but has since scored two in two after finding the net against Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday.

In his column with the Yorkshire Evening Post, Whelan claimed that the 24-year-old target man has the ability to be one of the Championship’s most prolific target men.

“We know that he has got 20 goals in him a season,” Whelan wrote. “And on Saturday he was a different animal.

“He has got to bully them (defenders). When he brings that aggression like he did on Saturday, his game is different.

“He was aggressive, he was winning headers, he was hurting defenders and that as a centre forward is what you have got to do.”

The front-man scored 13 goals in 37 league and cup encounters last term, dipping in and out of form on a regular basis following his move from Premier League champions Leicester City.

But his apparent return to form has provoked a positive response from Whelan and fans alike, as Leeds prepare to face Luton Town on Tuesday night in the second round of the EFL Cup.

“You can’t be six foot plus and not put yourself about and give centre-halves an easy time,” Whelan said to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“When you bring a bit of aggression to the table you are going to win more headers, more challenges and more 50-50s and he got his reward with his goal at the end.”

Leeds next domestic fixture comes in the form of rivals Nottingham Forest on Saturday, as Wood looks to continue his return to form and strengthen his new partnership with Swede Marcus Antonsson.

In other Leeds news, first-team coach wants more from the Whites, improvement needed.