Exclusive: Whelan claims Leeds star 'licking his lips' after early team news v Charlton

Noel Whelan claims that Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford will be licking his lips after Marcelo Bielsa confirmed Helder Costa will start against Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Leeds striker and lifelong fan at Elland Road says that the 26-year-old centre forward will be relishing the chance to feed off the service offered by the Portuguese winger, who is set to take Pablo Hernandez’s place in the starting XI.

Bielsa confirmed at his press conference that the Spanish attacker was out of contention due to injury and that Costa, a loan-to-buy signing from Wolves over the summer, would make his first Championship start for the Whites.

Whelan says that having Costa’s pace down the wing will be music to the ears of Bamford, who has gone his last three league outings without finding the back of the net.

Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said: “We saw that against Barnsley when Helder Costa came on for Jack Harrison. Within the first five minutes he’d created two chances for Bamford and that will be something he will be licking his lips for.

“He’s getting that full start with a player like Helder Costa, with that pace, that quality across. That’s where we’ve been getting let down at times. We’re getting into great three-quarter area and outside the 18-yard box and it’s that final ball that’s been letting us down.

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“For a striker, it’s frustrating when you keep hitting the front man and you’re not getting the balls into the right area when the striker when he makes his runs. This is one man who can put the ball into the right area and cause problems with crosses.”

Bamford has managed to net four goals in eight league appearances for the Whites this season, with Bielsa choosing to start him in all of their Championship games.

Costa has had to play second-fiddle to Jack Harrison and Hernandez so far, featuring as a substitute in all of their second-tier games.

In other Leeds United news, Noel Whelan has said one Leeds star has been “embarrassing” as he closes in on sealing a contract deal.