Darren Bent has suggested that Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa will hand Eddie Nketiah his first league start for the club against West Brom after seeing Patrick Bamford fail to score against Charlton.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Aston Villa and England striker says that the young Arsenal loanee will start to become very frustrated with his lack of starts soon enough and that Bamford’s recent lack of goals means Tuesday is the perfect chance to swap things around.
Nketiah has come off the substitutes’ bench in each of Leeds’ last six Championship games, while Bamford has started every one of the club’s league outings this campaign.
Bent says that the time has come for Bielsa to hand Nketiah named in a Championship starting XI for the first time, insisting that Bamford will get over his dip in form even if he is dropped.
Asked if he thought Tuesday night would see Nketiah finally start for Leeds, Bent told Football Insider: “Yeah, I think he’ll be in, Leeds are playing really well again, they played well against Charlton but the very, very last piece, they couldn’t put it in the net. The goal that Charlton got was fortunate, really fortunate, but these things happen.
“If you’ve not got someone at the other end who can stick the ball in the net, you’re going to struggle. Bamford, he can do it but it’s not going for him and sometimes when it’s not going for you, you need to look elsewhere.
“I’m sure Bamford will come again, he’s a good player, but it’s time for Nketiah because it’s all well and good him coming off the bench and scoring goals but there’s going to come a time where he’s going to become really frustrated. That’s when you lose him, so now’s the time to put him in there and give him a run of games.
Bamford has four goals in his nine league outings, going without hitting the back of the net for four games, while Nketiah has managed to score twice in six substitute appearances.
West Brom are unbeaten in the Championship this season, having seen off QPR 2-0 in their last match.
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