PATRICK BAMFORD has stressed the importance of making Elland Road a fortress in Leeds United's new promotion bid with the striker's club Nottingham Forest providing the initial test.
Bamford joined the City Ground academy at the age of eight and only left Forest 11 years later to join Chelsea for £1.5m at the age of 18.
Seventeen years on, the striker is approaching his latest battle with his former club but first clash against Forest with Leeds having been injured for both the 4-2 loss at the City Ground on New Year's Day and the 1-1 draw at Elland Road in October.
There is, though, no room for sentiment with the 25-year-old insisting that a strong home record is a must for any team with pretensions of gaining promotion to the Premier League.
Leeds approach Saturday's lunch-time kick-off at Elland Road on the back of Sunday's 3-1 win at Bristol City with Forest having suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to West Brom last weekend in former France international Sabri Lamouchi's first game in charge.
"I think if you look at the teams that go up, they generally make their home a bit of a fortress so we have got to try and do that," said Bamford.
"Forest will be a tough outfit this year, they have just got a new manager and new players and stuff so it's going to be an interesting game but obviously we are excited for every game."
Reflecting on how important a strong start to the season might be, Bamford admitted: "I think it is important to win your first game.
"But saying that you can't read too much into it because it is the first game and even though pre season has finished it's still like you are getting your match fitness.
"I think for the first maybe three to five games of the season everyone is still getting up to speed so it's almost like can you capitalise on that when teams aren't fully at it."