'Crucial weekend' - Leeds United frontman talks up Watford and Hull City double-header in title race

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford says this weekend's double-header against Watford and Hull City has the makings of being a 'crucial' time for the Championship title race.
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The 30-year-old has seen his fair share of Championship campaigns, including the disappointment of 2018/19 with Leeds and subsequent ecstasy of promotion a year later. Bamford has drawn on his experience of this time in the season, coming to the conclusion that Leeds' next two fixtures could prove especially consequential come the end of 2023/24.

First up, Leeds travel to Watford on Good Friday in search of a 13th win in 14 league matches since the turn of the year, a run Bamford says the squad are keen to uphold. Then, three days later, Leeds are back in action at home to Yorkshire rivals Hull City, who held the Whites to a goalless draw at the MKM Stadium earlier this season and themselves harbour promotion ambitions, albeit through the play-offs.

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"The closer you get to the end of the season, the harder each game gets because there's more riding on it for both teams," Bamford told Leeds' in-house media channel. "It'll be like that not just for Watford but for every other game. It's something we look forward to, we like the challenge.

"Normally Easter Weekend, in all the years I've been involved in the Championship, is a crucial weekend for every team in the whole league because it's those two games [in quick succession] back-to-back and it does lead onto those last few games," he added.

Bamford played a central role in Leeds' 2-1 defeat by 10-man Wigan Athletic at Elland Road on Good Friday five seasons ago which ultimately derailed the Whites' automatic promotion run. Latics defender Cedric Kipre handled the striker's shot on the line during the opening quarter of an hour and was shown a straight red card before Pablo Hernandez's resulting penalty crashed against the post. Bamford would break the deadlock minutes later, but two Gavin Massey strikes left United with no points and wounds to lick on that particular Easter Weekend.

This year, however, could be a little different on the back of March's international window immediately preceding the Easter double-header, Bamford thinks: "I've never had it where we've come straight out of an international break into an Easter Weekend so I don't know if it'll play the same, but it's important to keep the run going for us and obviously for other teams they're looking to give themselves that kick-start into the last few games."

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The striker has eight goals this season after rarely featuring from the start during the opening half of the campaign. Having reclaimed his spot in Daniel Farke's first XI from Joel Piroe, he has become one of the first names on the teamsheet scoring four of his eight away from home.

Victory in both fixtures would move Leeds onto 88 points from 40 matches, boasting a points-per-game average of 2.20 for the season.

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