David Prutton: Patrick Bamford return a huge boost for Leeds United but thriving Kemar Roofe cannot be dropped

BACK IN BUSINESS: Patrick Bamford
BACK IN BUSINESS: Patrick Bamford
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PATRICK Bamford is back fit and available to start – that’s a wonderful bit of news for Leeds United fans.

It’s full credit to Patrick for his powers of recovery and obviously the way the medical staff have worked with him to get him back up and running.

Attack-wise, Leeds have looked in rude health all season.

You can look at the way Kemar Roofe has been playing and also Pablo Hernandez, but it’s defensively and in behind the front line where there have been question marks.

Injuries are also mounting up.

But with Bamford coming back it’s a strange one and I wouldn’t shoe-horn him into the team for the sake of shoe-horning him in.

Obviously getting three goals during the week for United’s under-23s against Burnley will do wonders for his confidence and his match fitness.

But there’s no need to hurry him back with the way that Leeds have been playing and the way that Roofe has been playing up there on his own.

There is an argument there at some stage that if they ever go to two up top then that it will be a bit different between Bamford and Roofe.

But at this moment in time it’s one up top and Roofe had several decent chances against QPR last weekend and obviously scored the two goals that won the game so I don’t think you can drop Kemar at this moment in time.

Kemar now has 10 goals for the season and there has been plenty of talk about his contract situation with his deal up in the summer of 2020.

There will be plenty of clubs looking at him and from his point of view and a security point of view as a player, it’s understandable that he will want to get it sewn up.

As a commodity for the club, Leeds will know full-well that he has played his way into being a player that a lot of people will covet.

We have seen it in the past with Chris Wood being the most recent example of the fact that you have got a decent crack at the Premier League if you do well at Leeds. Leeds have got to be very, very wary of that and it’s testament to how far Kemar has come as a player.

He elected to go away from a fairly high level club in West Brom to try his luck at Oxford United and look where it has landed him. He has done fantastically well.

In football you used to have to do it for a season or two or probably two full good seasons before the rewards came in.

But because of how well he did last year and how fantastically well he has done this year, I think Kemar is well within his rights to be rewarded for what he has done so far because he has adapted to being the main man very simply and straight forwardly.

What it has also shown and what a lot of the players have shown is that if they are prepared to listen and be coached by a good coach then they are going to improve. All credit to Kemar and all credit to Bielsa’s coaching but it’s imperative that Leeds keep hold of him.

Saturday’s win against QPR made it four wins in a row but playing devil’s advocate, you have got to say that such is the nature of the league that they play in that there is always a West Brom result around the corner – no matter which team we are talking about.

Leeds will have to be very wary of that and wary of having to carry the different injuries.

But in saying that if you look at the fundamentals of how the team lined up in the early part of the season to how they line up now, the make-up of it is not too much different.

Players are playing in different positions but they have coped well with the more experienced players that haven’t been in the side.

Four wins from four is great and I think it’s imperative that they keep pace with Norwich who seem to be putting themselves in a very good position.

But fair play to Leeds, they are just right behind Norwich, they are snapping at their heels and it feels like Leeds are enjoying chasing Norwich down.

Ahead of the weekend’s fixtures they’d created a bit of a cushion but you’d hope it’s something that doesn’t breed any complacency. If you have a bad week in the Championship with three bad results then that breathing space can evaporate quickly. They have got to be extremely wary of that.

You have to remember the season before last under Garry Monk when we got to Spring time and there was a nice cushion back to the teams outside of the play-offs and that completely went up in smoke.

Two years on it’s the majority of the same players that are still wearing the whit of Leeds United so there should be a slight air of caution about the position they’re in

It’s nice for them to be in the automatic promotion places but if you have a tough Christmas you could be down as low as sixth, or even out of it.

There’s absolutely no room for them to be patting themselves on the back too much but it’s been a very rewarding almost half of the season because of: a) the way that they have played; b) the resilience that they have shown, and c) the consistency of performance that Marcelo Bielsa has managed to squeeze and press out of the same sets of players that in seasons gone by were treading water.

Now it might be that Bielsa and Leeds have to do without Samu Saiz who seems intent on going back to Spain.

We will have to wait and see what happens with that. If he goes, he would obviously be a big miss.

But United still have Izzy Brown to come back and hopefully he can go somewhere towards filling any potential void.

*Championship on Sky Sports today: Bristol City v Norwich - Sky Sports Football, 5.15pm;.