Danny Mills has tipped Leeds United winger Helder Costa to take over the striker duties at Elland Road if Marcelo Bielsa loses Patrick Bamford over the coming weeks.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds and England full-back suggests that the Portuguese forward has what it takes to lead the line in case of a potential injury crisis, Eddie Nketiah already missing through injury.
With the Arsenal loanee absent for Leeds’ 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers, Bielsa chose not to name a natural centre-forward on the substitutes’ bench, with wingers Pablo Hernandez and Jack Clarke his only attacking options to call upon.
As revealed by Football Insider, Nketiah is set to be ruled out for at least three weeks, ruling him out of the home tie against Blackburn Rovers and leaving him fighting for fitness after the international break.
With no natural senior centre-forwards behind Bamford in the pecking order at Elland Road, Mills suggests that Costa could operate as a makeshift striker in case of injury or suspension over the coming weeks.
Asked what would happen if Bamford was sidelined, Mills told Football Insider: “You’ve got Helder Costa, he can play up there. Jack Clarke could come in and play in one of the wide areas.
“They’ve got options and we’ve seen before how Bielsa mixes and matches what he does. Yes, of course, he’ll want Bamford fit but you’ve got the international break coming up, so it’ll probably only be one game, with Nketiah hopefully back after the break anyhow.
“It’s not a huge concern but if Bamford was to be unfit or unavailable for any reason, Leeds will work around it.”
Costa, 25, has played in every single one of Leeds’ Championship fixtures this season, his last seven appearances coming in the starting XI, but he has just one assist to his name in the league so far.
Meanwhile, Bamford has only found the back of the net four times in his 15 second-tier starts, finding himself on a goal drought which runs back 10 games.
In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that Newcastle United held an Elland Road transfer mission on Saturday.