By Noel Whelan

5th Aug, 2022 | 4:00pm

Patrick Bamford backed to explode at Leeds United - Whelan

Noel Whelan has backed Patrick Bamford and Joe Gelhardt to forge a “formidable partnership” for Leeds United this term.

The former Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the England Under-20 star “ticks all the boxes as a number nine”.

As quoted by Leeds Live (4 August) before the season opener against Wolves on Saturday (6 August), manager Jesse Marsch backed Gelhardt to “support” Bamford this season.

He claimed the pair could play alongside one another in a two-man strike force.

Bamford has recovered from the various injury problems which limited his game time last season.

The England international, who is contracted until June 2026, made just nine league appearances in the 2021-22 season – scoring twice.

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Meanwhile, Gelhardt has pledged his future to Leeds United until June 2027 after scoring twice and assisting four in his breakthrough campaign.

Whelan backed the pair’s relationship to finally “blossom” after a stop-start season for Bamford last term.

“I think Joe showed his massive intelligence last season,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“He’s got an older head on his shoulders. He knows how to make runs, find space, hold the ball up.

“He ticks all the boxes for me as a number nine.

“If he can build that relationship with Patrick, then great. They’ve probably not had too much time alongside each other after Patrick’s injuries last year.

“Once that blossoms, you could have a really formidable partnership there – they could cause some real problems for most sides.”

In other news, expert backs “top talent” to gatecrash Leeds United first team after “elite” reveal.