Leeds United's Patrick Bamford picks up extra unplanned minutes on return with defender absence explained
Patrick Bamford was given extra unplanned minutes on his Leeds United return on Monday night.
Both Bamford and Ayling have been missing from Marcelo Bielsa's senior squad since September 17 due to injury - a run which has seen them miss eight Premier League games.
Last season's top goalscorer has been battling ligament damage while the right-back has had to recover from minor knee surgery.
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United's No 9 looked sharp at the Etihad Campus in the 3-2 defeat, holding the ball up and linking up play before rifling an effort into the top corner from outside the box only to be denied by a late offside flag.
Ayling provided one highlight in his appearance as he burst into the box to get to the byline from a Bamford reverse pass though there was no Leeds shirt on hand to fire home.
Bamford was expected to be replaced by fellow forward Joe Gelhardt at some point in the evening but an injury to defender Leo Heldje on the stroke of half-time saw a quick change of plan.
"They both came through okay," development boss Mark Jackson told the YEP post-match.
"Their attitude has been exemplary in regards to the game. They came in and trained with the group [in the last few days].
"Even on the pitch today before the game - their application was a credit to them. There's never any doubt that the senior players do that at our club. I'm thankful for that and thankful they came through unscathed.
"They were planned for less minutes but we had to do an enforced change in the first half with Leo. That wasn't planned, so it disrupted things a little bit. We had to adapt quickly at half-time.
"We wanted to make different changes but we had to adapt due to Leo's injury. It was planned that Joffy [Joe Gelhardt] was going to get time but we had to change that."
Asked about full-back Cody Drameh's notable absence from his squad, Jackson added: "Cody's alright, he is just managing his knee at the minute. He's just working with the medical team to get that right. It's not a major problem."