EXCLUSIVE

Noel Whelan has expressed his fears about the pre-season form of Patrick Bamford heading into Leeds United’s Championship opener against Bristol City on Sunday.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds forward claimed Bamford is a “big worry” for supporters after drawing a blank in the warm-up matches.

With Kemar Roofe out injured for a month, Whelan claimed Marcelo Bielsa has no choice but to make the club’s £7million signing the spearhead of the attack at Ashton Gate.

“Bamford, he’s a big worry because strikers thrive on goals and he hasn’t been scoring them,” Whelan told Football Insider. “Pre-season is when you build your fitness and get your confidence.

“Leeds will be hoping he has been saving the goals for Bristol City and he will start banging them in from the weekend, but he has looked off the pace in recent weeks.

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“The problem is we are light in the striker department. We can’t go through a full season with just two strikers. It’s impossible. Sheffield United had four strikers last season after buying in that position in January.

“We need to promote Ryan Edmondson and give him a full season in the first team, or go in the market and find someone to compete with, and push, Bamford and Roofe.

“Bamford knows he’s starting on Sunday, as there’s no-one pushing him.”

Bamford had a stop-start debut season after signing from Middlesbrough last summer, partly due to two serious knee injuries.

He made 25 appearances, 18 of which were starts, for United in the last campaign, scoring 10 goals.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that a club are tabling £2m-a-year United player offer as talks advance.