By Noel Whelan

29th Nov, 2021 | 7:00pm

Pundit makes 'massive' Bamford claim pre-Leeds clash v Crystal Palace

Noel Whelan has insisted the return of Patrick Bamford is “imperative” with Leeds United facing a tough run of fixtures.

The former Whites hitman, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 28-year-old has been “desperately missed” by the Elland Road club.

In his pre-Crystal Palace press conference today (November 29th), Marcelo Bielsa confirmed Bamford will return from his injury layoff with involvement for Leeds United’s U23s against Man City’s U23 side.

Luke Ayling is also set to make a return in the match after a long spell on the sidelines.

Bamford last featured for Leeds United against Newcastle in September before breaking down with an ankle problem.

The England international has netted once and registered two assists in five Premier League matches this term.

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Whelan suggested Bamford’s return will be key with Leeds United facing a “really tricky” December.

“It will be massive to see him back in action,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“We’ve desperately missed him leading the line for us because there’s no like for like replacement for him. He’s the only player in that mould at the club.

“It’s imperative that he gets that fitness under his belt. We all know about the massive run of games we have coming up.

“We have to go into that Brentford game hoping and targeting three points because after that comes a really tricky run against the top sides.”

Bamford netted 17 Premier League goals in 38 games for Leeds United last season.

He made his England bow in September.

In other news, Danny Mills tells Tyler Roberts to consider his Leeds United future after reveal in last 24 hours.