By Noel Whelan

1st Feb, 2020 | 11:18am

Exclusive: Noel Whelan tips Leeds striker to be on bench v Wigan today

Noel Whelan has backed Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford to keep his place in Marcelo Bielsa’s starting XI on Saturday afternoon following his brace against Millwall in midweek.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Elland Road forward claimed that he believes the 26-year-old has done enough to retain his place up front and force new signing Jean-Kevin Augustin to start on the bench against Wigan Athletic.

Leeds completed a loan deal with an option to buy for the 22-year-old earlier this week, and the new boy was in the stands to watch Marcelo Bielsa’s men overturn a two-goal deficit against the Lions on Tuesday night.

But Bamford played a large part in that win, scoring two vital goals, and Whelan believes that Augustin may have to wait a little while longer for his first Leeds start.

“I don’t think anyone is cemented in his [Bielsa’s] plans,” he told Football Insider. 

“The manager will have a template of how he likes to play and that’s no secret. I think it’s good for Kevin to sit out that game and see the work rate that is required from the frontman.

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“I don’t know what it was like at Leipzig, or any of his other clubs, but you’re at Leeds United now and this is how Marcelo Bielsa likes to play. You’ve got to go above and beyond.

“Now, Patrick Bamford responded. Of course, any striker who has someone on their heels, you worry about your place – but it’s how you react, and two goals is a fantastic way to react to a new striker coming in.

“Two goals, it keeps Augustin on the bench and it gets him back into that scoring mode again.”

The two strikes were Bamford’s 11th and 12th of the Championship season, and his first since December 21st.

Leeds go into Saturday’s clash with the Latics holding a two-point lead at the top of Championship table after having ended a winless run of three matches with that win in midweek.

In other Leeds United news, ‘Shocking’ – Danny Mills reacts to Twitter rant from senior Elland Road man.