Noel Whelan has claimed Patrick Bamford’s season could now be over as his two-match ban coincides with the Leeds United return of Kemar Roofe.
The club trumpeted Roofe’s availability for this weekend’s league clash against Ipswich Town, the final one of the campaign proper, after he missed the explosive encounter against Aston Villa with a hip injury.
Bamford had established himself as the first choice spearhead in recent months but he has been hit with a two-match ban for feigning injury and getting Anwar El Ghazi sent off, a red card that was subsequently rescinded.
The £7million signing will miss the Ipswich encounter as well as the first leg of the Championship play-off semi-final, which is most likely to be against one of Derby County, Middlesbrough or Bristol City.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds striker Whelan suggested Roofe could now re-assert himself as the undisputed number one striker.
“Personally, I think you can’t play Bamford and Roofe together, they are both at their best in the central striker,” Whelan said. “Bielsa did try it with Roofe behind Bamford a few times, but it didn’t really work and I can’t see him going back to that system when Bamford is available again.
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— Leeds United (@LUFC) May 1, 2019
“We’ve seen with Bielsa all season, that if a player drops out of the side, through injury or suspension, they won’t go straight back in when they’re available again.
“Roofe found that himself after his knee injury, but he will get his chance against Ipswich to show why he should be the main forward in the play-offs.
“If he plays well, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bamford doesn’t start again this season. He may not play at all.”
Roofe is Leeds’ top scorer with 14 goals from 32 matches, including 26 league starts, while Bamford is third with 10 goals from 24 games, including 15 league starts.
In other Leeds United news, it can be revealed that Marcelo Bielsa has high first-team hopes for loaned-out 22-year-old who has caught his eye.