By Daniel Feliciano

3rd Jul, 2022 | 3:36pm

Patrick Bamford battling for Leeds United future as Jesse Marsch targets fresh attack

The more and more the 2021/22 season, the more glaringly obvious it was that Patrick Bamford was a vital cog in the Leeds United team.

The team were desperately missing their talismanic striker, as their future in the Premier League looked more under threat with every passing poor result that came under Marcelo Bielsa bringing more stress.

Then Jesse Marsch took over and while Bamford didn’t see his season turn around, Leeds did and they eventually managed to secure survival with a win over Brentford on the final day of the season.

All the talk from Marsch was about how important the 28-year-old one-time England international is to the team, yet the Whites were able to get out of their mess without him being available after an injury-hit campaign.

This summer has seen heavy changes at Elland Road. As of the start of July, there are already three new signings in the squad while key players Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha look almost certain to leave with deals all but signed off already.

But Bamford is staying put and after a long summer of recovery and fitness, he is raring to go once again and will be keen to get back to the form that saw him bag 17 Premier League goals in the club’s first season back after promotion.

However Marsch knows that he simply can’t rely on the former Chelsea man being fit all season, and therefore contingency plans must be made. And that could mean Bamford’s future is in doubt.

Charles De Ketelaere is regarded as the top target to come in in attack [Athletic, July 1] , with his ability to play just off the striker or as the main man leading him to 18 goals in all competitions last season.

In an ideal world Marsch would be able to pair the two of them together and create a formidable partnership that can provide quality and goals for the team to avoid another relegation battle.

But if the injury problems of Bamford are to persist during the 2022/23 season, then a decision may need to be made to protect the club’s interests.

There’s no room for sentiment at the highest level and despite handing him a fresh five-year deal last summer, if he can’t stay fit then there is little sense in planning to have him around in the squad consistently to help with the cause.

For both Leeds and Bamford himself, he needs to have another good season and avoid injuries at all costs. He’s not getting any younger, and the club are looking to go in a direction to stabilise themselves as a Premier League club.

If that has to happen without him, then so be it.

In other Leeds news, Jesse Marsch’s dream XI for the opening game of the season