MARCELO BIELSA’S Leeds United earned plenty of admirers for their swashbuckling style in disposing of Tuesday night’s visitors Preston North End.
Injured summer striker signing Patrick Bamford would have preferred to have been leading the Whites line but instead saw United from a different vantage point in the stands with his father.
“I said to my dad ‘you know when I was on the pitch or I came on as a sub, did it look like we were running around as much as that?” revealed Bamford.
The answer from Bamford senior was an unequivocal yes with Bamford longing to return from his posterior cruciate ligament injury.
Bamford is still looking at three to four months out but is relieved that just as Leeds are in excellent hands on the pitch, so too is the striker delighted by the support for him off it led by head of medicine and performance Rob Price.
Bamford is still somewhat perplexed when it comes to explaining how he picked up his injury from simply landing after winning a header playing for United’s under-23s on September 11.
Joining Leeds from Hull City in the summer, it was Price who eventually revealed the extent of the damage to Bamford who is reluctant to set a targeted date for his return.
The forward will instead let his injury heal naturally with the striker admitting he is receiving top class support under Price’s team with United’s football under Bielsa not the only commodity at Leeds that is top of the league.
Bamford told the YEP: “From what I have seen of Rob and heard of Rob, I think he is very good and he has brought in almost like a strength and conditioner rehab kind of guy called Ruben who is up with the best I have seen.
“We had a guy at Middlesbrough called Matt Radcliffe who kind of used similar ideas but was only part time and Ruben is very similar, very thorough and the things that he gets you doing, I can see that I am in good hands.”
Casting his mind back to how his strange injury occurred, Bamford said: “I just landed with my knee bent, straight on my knee and it felt funny. It didn’t hurt but it just felt heavy and I thought that was weird.
“I heard a click and I remember Lew (Lewis Baker) shouting ‘come on Pat, get up.’ I thought ‘Lew, there is something wrong here.’
“When the physio came over, I remember he tested my ACL and I said ‘that feels all right doesn’t it’ and he said ‘yeah that feels fine’ and I was thinking ‘thank God for that’ thinking that was the one I didn’t want.
“And then we went in and the head of the department had a look and he told me it was probably the PCL and it’s a weird accident to get in football because normally it’s from a car crash from the dashboard. It’s an impact injury, it squishes against the tibia/fibula and smashes it back so it was a strange one to get but just unlucky I guess.”
Bamford subsequently looked on from the stands as United crushed Preston on Tuesday but the striker says he has been helped by the huge messages of support and the mental relief that actually the injury could have been worse.
Midfielder Baker – with whom Bamford is particularly good friends with – is also helping with the striker’s recovery with the Whites pair living nearby each other and Bamford’s mind taken off his injury through games night at the Baker pad on Wednesday evening. Yet games for United are ultimately what Bamford yearns for and the striker hopes he will be back better than ever around the new year.
“It’s going to be a while but it’s better news than what I first thought,” admitted Bamford. “At first I thought it was going to be six to nine months and I would need an operation.
“But fortunately I don’t so it’s four months.
“So even though that is a long time, as soon as I found that out I felt like ‘thank God for that’ as it’s not a long, long injury and now it’s just about keeping me mentally all right.
“It’s frustrating but to be honest I am trying not to think what ifs, what could have been and now I am just concentrating that I can come back stronger.
“This gives me a chance to strengthen areas that I probably wasn’t as strong in in the gym, help me get faster and quicker and we will see.
“Hopefully it will be like having a new player when I come back around the new year.”