Danny Mills claims that Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has been handed a lucky break after seeing Patrick Bamford pick up an injury niggle ahead of the clash versus Queens Park Rangers.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds and England defender says that the Argentine boss can now hand Eddie Nketiah a chance in the starting XI and not worry about how he performs, suggesting it is an excuse for a swap.
Bielsa confirmed prior to Saturday’s clash that Bamford was suffering from an ankle injury and is a doubt to feature against the Hoops, joining Ezgjan Alioski and Barry Douglas as players whose availability is uncertain.
💬 Marcelo provides an update on the team: "Pablo Hernandez is fit, Patrick Bamford has a little problem with the ankle. Alioski [hip] and Douglas [knee] have a problem as well, but it's not definite yet [as to whether they will miss the game]." pic.twitter.com/WlYvXfAXm2
— Leeds United (@LUFC) October 31, 2019
With Bamford on a poor run of form when it comes to his record in front of goal, Mills says that Bielsa has almost been handed a free pass to change things up in attack.
Mills told Football Insider: “Sometimes as a manager you get a little bit fortunate, there’s a little bit of speculation should Bamford remain in the team, he’s going through a goal drought. Eddie Nketiah, has he done enough when he’s started games?
“Sometimes if there’s a little bit of doubt over an injury, it just gives the manager a little bit of an opportunity to go: ‘Look, I don’t have a choice,’ it just gives him that little added extra to back himself.
“(He can say) ‘There you go Eddie, go and play, this is your opportunity,’ and if it doesn’t quite work, you’ve got the option to say: ‘Well, Bamford wasn’t fit.’ It gives you that little bit of added freedom because it’s not wholly your decision.”
Bamford has now gone nine games without finding the back of the net for Leeds, having started every single one of their 14 Championship matches this season.
Nketiah has netted three times in 10 substitute appearances at Elland Road, including an equaliser against Preston North End in October.
In other Leeds United news, Noel Whelan suggests that a 20-year-old is set to start against QPR after Bielsa’s update.