By Noel Whelan

23rd Oct, 2019 | 7:41am

Exclusive: Whelan '99% certain' Leeds striker will start v Sheffield Wednesday

Noel Whelan has tipped Patrick Bamford to remain in the Leeds United starting XI v Sheffield Wednesday despite Eddie Nketiah’s heroics on Tuesday night.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United forward is convinced that Marcelo Bielsa is “going to stay faithful” to Bamford as his first choice spearhead.

The £7million signing from Middlesbrough drew another blank in the 1-1 draw against Preston North End as Nketiah came off the bench after 77 minutes to score the equaliser with three minutes remaining.

Loan star Nketiah has now scored five goals this season, one more than Bamford, even though he is yet to start a Championship match for Leeds.

“The Bamford-Nketiah debate is going to keep rolling on,” Whelan told Football Insider. “I’m 99 per cent certain that Marcelo Bielsa is going to stay faithful to Bamford if he is fit.

“Bamford is the long term Leeds centre-forward, Nketiah isn’t. I can’t see Bielsa changing how he sees the pecking order.

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“Nketiah is a diamond, and a brilliant weapon to have. But he likes Bamford’s work-rate, energy and the way he moves the defenders around to create space for others.”

Bamford has started all 13 of Leeds’ Championship matches this season but his goal drought has now extended to eight games.

By contrast, Nketiah has scored five times in total, two in the League Cup and three in the Championship when coming off the substitute’s bench.

He also banged in four goals in two matches for England Under-21s during the recent international break.

In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the club have suffered a major new injury blow to star player.