David Prutton: Marcelo Bielsa will reap rewards from handling of Leeds United striker situation

PERFECT START: Eddie Nketiah. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
PERFECT START: Eddie Nketiah. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
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THERE’S a lot of focus on the striker situation at Leeds United with Patrick Bamford missing more good chances in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest.

Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa has already confirmed that Bamford will again be starting in the striker role for today’s Championship clash at Wigan Athletic and you have to remember that Bamford has had a year under Bielsa already, albeit injuries permitting. Bamford knows exactly what Bielsa wants from him.

But Eddie Nketiah has come in to replace Kemar Roofe on a season-long loan from Arsenal and Nketiah can’t have done any more than score on his debut in the 3-0 win at Salford City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.

From that point of view, the two of them are probably neck and neck at this moment in time. Maybe it’s because of the fact that Bielsa knows Patrick more why Patrick gets the nod, having faith with someone you have worked with for a longer time.

But when a player is kept on his toes it can go one of two ways as that can either make that person flourish or they can play their way out of the team.

It means you either get a Patrick Bamford scoring goals or you get a Patrick Bamford that comes out of the side and Nketiah goes in.

Nketiah has come from Arsenal and he is not here to make the numbers up.

He’s come here to lead the line at a very big football club and he has already been under pressure to perform at Arsenal and we have seen bits of pieces of him there doing exactly that.

He will bring a confidence to Leeds and he should be a success there.

There were elements of Leeds at their best against Forest but the missed chances cost them dear though they still looked as if they will be very tough to beat.

They’ve got to make sure they maintain that but it’s been a good start as you want to make a smooth transition from pre-season into the season and they have done that.

They are unbeaten and you could have looked at the Carabao Cup tie at Salford as a bit of a banana skin and a tough one.

You have got Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic at the top after two games played but Leeds look in pretty rude health.

Of the obvious teams that people are looking to be up and around the promotion places, none of them have started particularly well such as your Fulhams and Cardiffs.

No real marker has been laid down yet but we saw last year how quickly things can change.

You can easily set a fast pace but then take your eyes off the prize and end up with nothing and there is more than one way to crack an egg in terms of getting promotion.

Wigan are next for Leeds and it’s a funny one with them as they had a wonderful result in their first game of the season with a 3-2 win at home to Cardiff City, especially with the way they went about getting the points.

That was followed by a 3-0 loss at Preston and a 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke in the Carabao Cup but I think Leeds have got to go there extremely wary as Paul Cook has now had a full season with a team that he has brought up from League One.

Maybe now he is a bit more wary about this league and what it takes to get results in it.

Wednesday night will then see the return of Pontus Jansson to Elland Road with Brentford and both parties will be licking their lips at that one after Jansson left in cloudy circumstances.

Jansson has eluded to the fact that the reasons might have been somewhat more financial and you never know the exact ins and outs of it all but for a nice portion of time, Leeds an Jansson really enjoyed each other’s company.

The respect will be there but there will be a bit of a feeling of the pantomime and the villain as we all know how histrionic and animated Jansson can be.

I think if you are Leeds and you are their centre forward then you try and work that to your advantage, you try and wind him up and try and get under his skin because you know it can affect his concentration.

Sods law come Wednesday he will be as cool as a cucumber and show everyone what potentially he could be doing but what he is now doing for somebody else.