By Noel Whelan

4th Feb, 2023 | 1:30pm

Leeds United employee issues 'huge' Patrick Bamford claim after injury layoff confirmed

Noel Whelan has insisted Leeds United star Patrick Bamford now has a “huge opportunity” to reclaim his place as first-choice striker following Rodrigo Moreno’s injury.

The former Whites striker and club ambassador, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 29-year-old should get the opportunity ahead of new signing Georginio Rutter.

Leeds United confirmed via club media on Thursday (2 February) that Rodrigo faces two months on the sidelines after undergoing surgery following an ankle injury against Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup.

The Spain international had scored 12 goals across all competitions this season – eight more than Crysencio Summerville, the Whites’ second-most potent attacker.

Bamford has struggled with injuries of his own but has returned with three goals and two assists in his last five appearances across the league and cup.

Leeds United are without a win in their last six Premier League games ahead of their meeting with Nottingham Forest on Sunday (5 February).

Get Exclusive transfers news at Football Insider's YouTube TV channel

Whelan told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “It’s a huge blow, especially with the predicament we are in – fighting against relegation.

“It was the best return we had out of him in a Leeds United shirt.

“We’ve brought in Rutter in the January window, but I think the natural replacement is going back to what you know.

“That is putting Patrick Bamford back through the middle.

“He’s scored some fantastic goals in the cup competitions, he looks to be back in that groove again – and he could be the difference for us.

“For me, this is a huge opportunity for him to reclaim that number nine spot again.”

In other news, pundit verdict on Leeds United selling Diego Llorente amid savage claim.