Wolf of worry never far from Leeds United's door but Patrick Bamford says togetherness can help Whites
Patrick Bamford is acutely aware of the undercurrent of fear that runs through Leeds.
Things have gone wrong, so often, in the years since the Whites exited the Premier League, that the wolf of worry is never far from the door.
Even when the going is good, like this season, it takes just a couple of disappointing results to convert mild frustration into full-blown concern.
A 1-1 draw at home to Derby, thanks to an ill-deserved stoppage time Rams goal, was followed by a 1-0 defeat at Charlton Athletic.
It certainly wasn’t panic stations, Leeds’ performances and all the statistics have been too good to suggest anything other than another serious promotion bid.
Whites fans want to go up, they believe they should go up, but they still always fear that they won’t.
Striker Bamford carries the responsibility of leading the line for Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds, in a lone striker role.
He and his team-mates can’t carry any extra weight into games.
“I think there was probably a bit of pressure in the atmosphere probably around the city and amongst the fans,” he said after Tuesday’s 1-0 win over West Brom at Elland Road.
Holding up under the pressure, amid the tension, helped Leeds claim a significant result and replace their visitors at the top of the table.
“It is always like they fear the worst when we are supposed to be challenging up there and then we have two dodgy results,” Bamford continued.
“And as players we try to not let that effect us because we know that we just need a little bit of luck to drop our way and there’s certain things that we can eradicate.
“At 1-0 you could feel the tension around the ground, especially when they came into the game more and more in the second half.
“I think that was almost testament to them because they are such a good team and the fact that we managed to shut them out and take the three points, it was a big win.”
Leading the Championship after 10 games, with more wins than any other side, with fewer goals conceded than anyone else, Leeds’ start to the 2019/20 campaign can hardly be described in anything other than positive terms.
It could have been so much better, had they not dropped points in games they had firmly under their control.
Nottingham Forest and Derby stole a point apiece at Elland Road, Swansea City somehow nicked all three.
The difficulties they encountered last season in putting teams away are a thread that has run through the early fixtures.
The adversity the 2019/20 squad has gone through, the downs that have punctured the ups, hasn’t remotely resembled a ‘bad spell’ but the dressing room atmosphere assures Bamford that if and when rough times do come, Leeds United can overcome.
And the new boys have added to that, his main rival for a starting place included.
“There is probably a bit of worry about the fact that last year, we did not quite make it over the line with that shadow hanging over our heads,” he said.
“There have been a few changes and we have brought in a few new faces in [Helder] Costa and Eddie [Nketiah].
“You have seen when Eddie has come on that he has made some important contributions. Costa does not look out of place and Ben White looks like he has played for Leeds for his whole life in every game.
“Everyone has fitted in the team and it is a great group of lads.
“When the atmosphere is good around the dressing room among the lads, that is the most important thing.
“The togetherness is what takes you through the bad spells and brings you out on the other side – I think we have got that.”
Sticking together is key, but so is staying grounded in reality.
Promotion to the Premier League is a mountain Bamford has tried and failed to scale once before with Leeds United.
They’ve reached base camp, the 10-game marker, in first place.
To get to the summit, they have to focus not on the ultimate goal or the fear of not making it, but simply on where they’ll next place their foot.
“It is a grind and there will be ups and downs,” said Bamford.
“It is very early on.
“We have got to play West Brom again later in the season at their own place and there are going to be obstacles to get over.
“It is taking it step by step.”