Leeds United team news - Marcelo Bielsa reveals good news on Patrick Bamford, latest on Liam Cooper and another question mark over Rodrigo

Leeds United top scorer Patrick Bamford is suffering with pain in his hip but Marcelo Bielsa thinks his forward should still be able to play against Fulham on Friday.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 1:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 1:18 pm
LEEDS HOPEFUL - Marcelo Bielsa thinks Leeds United top scorer Patrick Bamford will be able to play at Fulham. Pic: Getty

The centre-forward picked up the knock in the first half of Saturday's 0-0 draw with Chelsea which gave Rodrigo an opportunity to increase his match minutes following a recent absence through a groin problem.

But Bielsa has revealed there's a fresh question mark over the club's record signing, while Liam Cooper remains out through illness and Leif Davis has a minor issue.

"We think that yes [Bamford] will play on Friday," said Bielsa.

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"He has a knock on his hip that is painful but we don't think it's going to make him miss the game.

"Cooper is sick, Davis has a small articulation problem which is nothing serious and Rodrigo had a contracture yesterday in training and I don't know if he'll be available for Friday. Either way it's not an important injury."

Bielsa withdrew Rodrigo late on against Chelsea having felt the substitute had given more than he should have been capable of.

The head coach says the disrupted nature of Rodrigo's first season at Elland Road has made it difficult for him to show what he's capable of. But Bielsa is in no doubt as to the Spanish international's ability.

"Rodrigo arrived at the start of the competition, he didn't manage to do pre-season with us," said Bielsa.

"It took him four weeks to become a starter and after playing his best game, which was the game against Aston Villa, he became sick. He was ill for 20 days, then to get back to his best state it took him a month. He played 10 to 12 games of a level from medium to high, then he picked up the injury which kept him out for around five weeks. Perhaps this second from where he didn't play for 40 days to playing again was too quick. He's a player who gets his best physical state by gradually increasing his minutes. He played 45 minutes with the 23s, he played 45 minutes against West Ham and against Chelsea, one of the teams with the greatest rhythm, along with Manchester City.

"I had to bring him back earlier, because my estimate was he shouldn't have played more than 50 minutes. He becomes a starter when he's in a good state of form, when he has been without playing for over a month his return to the team is not instantaneous. Me and particular and Leeds as his club, we have seen what Rodrigo is capable of. For me he's a great striker and when he finds his best form he's very dangerous and very useful."

Bielsa has Tyler Roberts available to play as a number 10 or a number nine, depending on Bamford's fitness, while beyond the senior side lie exciting Under 23s prospects Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood. Both of the youngsters have featured as strikers and attacking midfielders for Mark Jackson's second string this season. Mateusz Klich could also fill in behind the striker for Leeds, although he too has been playing through pain of late.

Pascal Struijk came through his return from injury without problem against Chelsea and will be available to Bielsa for the trip to Craven Cottage on Friday night.