By Noel Whelan

1st Apr, 2021 | 8:00am

Bielsa forced into key Bamford call v Sheffield United after Leeds injury update - Whelan

Patrick Bamford is the only “real striker” at Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa couldn’t leave him out of the starting XI even if he wanted to. 

That is according to ex-Leeds striker and lifelong fan Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider ahead of Leeds’ meeting with Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United on Saturday.

After scoring one goal and setting up another in Leeds’ 2-1 victory over Fulham in their last match, Bamford told Sky Sports: “I was struggling.”

The 27-year-old was carrying an injury sustained in the previous fixture, a 0-0 draw with Chelsea.

But over two weeks will have elapsed by the time Leeds face the Blades and Whelan insists that Bamford must start in lieu of alternative options.

He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “I don’t think you should give him a break. Momentum is everything. He wanted to play against Fulham.

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“He got 75 minutes which was better than nothing and he proved me right with his goal that he took, that was fantastic.

“They can’t leave him out because they only really have one real striker that can play that centre-forward role the way he does.

“Now, he’s had a long rest period. There’s no way that dead leg should still be there. He’ll be ready and raring to go. Every striker wants to play the next game after scoring a goal.

“There’s no way after scoring a goal he won’t want to play in a Yorkshire derby and try and get another couple.”

Leeds signed fellow striker Rodrigo Moreno from Valencia in a club-record £26million deal in the summer.

However, the 30-year-old has been used almost exclusively in a midfield role since arriving in West Yorkshire.

In other news, Leeds United are planning to reward one of this season’s top performers with a big-money new deal.