Leeds United v Bolton Wanderers: Marcelo Bielsa on an improving Patrick Bamford and planned return of Izzy Brown
MARCELO BIELSA says Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford is making "constant positive steps" en route to returning to his best after two knee injuries and just two Whites league starts.
Bamford will start his third consecutive game in Saturday's Championship clash against Bolton Wanderers at Elland Road with the forward having recently returned from a second knee injury that the striker picked up in training in December.
The 25-year-old encountered the problem just one week after returning to the side when scoring the winner in a 1-0 triumph at Bolton following a three-month absence due to a PCL knee injury suffered playing for United's under-23s in September.
Bamford has still only started two league games for the Whites with Kemar Roofe having excelled in the lone striker role at the beginning of the season as Bamford gained fitness following his £7m summer switch from Middlesbrough.
The striker's goals will now be even more important to United with Roofe facing between six and eight weeks out with knee ligament damage.
Bielsa says it will naturally take Bamford time to reach his best but the Whites head coach is pleased with the forward's progress.
"When you have been absent for such a long time you need time to develop your sports performance," said Bielsa.
"He’s making constantly positive steps to reach his best level."
Bamford has taken over the lone striker role since his return with Roofe playing in the no 10 position.
Bielsa has already named his side for Saturday's Championship clash at Bolton for which Tyler Roberts will replace Roofe for the only change.
Izzy Brown is looking at another place on the bench with the on loan Chelsea player still yet to feature for United's first team following a year absence with an ACL injury.
Brown has now played five and a half games for United's under-23s.
Asked how close Brown was to starting, Bielsa said: "He is making constantly positive steps and we have to link his improvements to the needs of the team to see when he will be able to start a game."