Noel Whelan has backed Patrick Bamford to silence his critics by banging in more than 20 goals for Leeds United this season.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Whites striker claimed Bamford is a class act who will win over a supporter base that is growing immensely frustrated by his errant finishing.

Whelan accepts that Bamford should have at least doubled his four-goal haul so far this season, but is convinced he will eventually score the goals that his efforts outside of the box deserve.

A significant section of Leeds fans have called for Marcelo Bielsa to axe Bamford from the starting XI and replace him with on-loan Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah.

Whelan is a big admirer of Nketiah but does not believe the United manager will make a change against Charlton Athletic this weekend.

“Bielsa is rarely going to change his side when results are going well, whether fans are crying out for him to do so or not,” the Whites expert told Football Insider. “Bielsa is very predictable about his selection and game plan.

“Will Patrick Bamford be dropped? No. I know why fans aren’t happy with him but his overall game is spot-on, he’s doing everything right, apart from putting away the chances.

“As a striker you are judged on goals and he’s got four this season. He should have scored at least eight instead, including two against Derby on Saturday.

“The amount of chances he is getting, he could get 30 goals this season. I don’t think that will happen, but I think he will score 20 goals this season, and that would be a good return.

“Bamford’s work rate is excellent, he’s running into channels, pulling defenders out of position, Bielsa will be happy with him.”

Bamford has started all eight of Leeds’ Championship matches this season, while Nketiah is still waiting for his full league debut.

The England Under-21 international has scored four times for his loan club, including twice as a substitute in league fixtures.

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