Spotlight on Patrick Bamford as new recruit Jean-Kevin Augustin sees striker excel and notch Leeds United brace
PATRICK Bamford produced probably his best display on the figures this season in the 3-2 win against Millwall to leave Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa with another welcome striker conundrum.
As high profile forward recruit Jean-Kevin Augustin looked on just one day after signing, Bamford fired in more attempts on goal than in his last four games combined.
The striker had nine attempts at goal with three on target, namely his two goals in the second half and his golden opportunity in the first half which the striker fired straight at Bartosz Bialkowski.
At the time, with the score goalless, that squandered chance looked set to be extremely costly.
But the Whites no 9 refused to let that missed opportunity get the better of him as part of a display that also saw another three attempts blocked and another three off target.
The striker also won 50 per cent of his aerial battles and made two key passes, finishing with a passing success rate of 75 per cent with 12 out of 16 passes accurate.
And while the forward only had 32 touches meaning 1.7 per cent of the total possession, the hard graft was plain to see and particularly in the closing stages.
With Leeds desperately looking to survive a late Lions rally and hold on to their 3-2 lead, Bamford proved an absolute pest to the Millwall back line, including when appearing in Bialkowski's face to stop the 'keeper clearing up the field in second half stoppage time.
The forward took a booking for his continued blocking efforts which looked worth it with the striker only picking up his third yellow card of the season.
More importantly, Bamford is now on 12 goals for the campaign - the joint seventh-best in the division and six behind front-runners Ollie Watkins and Aleksandar Mitrovic with 18.
With 17 games remaining, the 26-year-old is well on course to beat his season's best return in the Championship of 17 for Middlesbrough in 2014-15, even if the striker should already be on more, a factor the honest target man has already admitted himself.
Moving forward, new recruit Augustin has not come to sit on the bench - but neither did Eddie Nketiah and as the case with Nketiah, the question now will be Bamford or Augustin or both?
With Bielsa clearly favouring the formation of one upfront, one or the other seems the likely first port of call and either way, between them the duo really ought to be able to find the necessary goals to fire the Whites to the Premier League.
A lack of goals has been costing Leeds dear but with Bamford back in the groove and 'Big Kev' waiting in the wings, that might well be about to change.