By Beck Pascal

8th Jan, 2022 | 1:15pm

Leeds United warned of 'neglectful' Bamford return by Graham Smyth

Graham Smyth has warned Marcelo Bielsa not to be ‘neglectful’ of Patrick Bamford as the striker returns to action for Leeds United. 

The Whites travel to West Ham this Sunday (January 9) for their FA Cup third-round clash.

Bielsa faces a team selection dilemma with seven first-team players out and more importance being placed on the Whites Premier League position as things stand. 

Writing for Yorkshire Evening Post, Smyth said: “Patrick Bamford, at least, is expected to be available to play against the Hammers, but a 90 or even 120-minute performance is not only likely to be beyond him, it would be neglectful of Leeds to ask it.”

Season changer 

Bamford is one of – if not – the most important part of the puzzle for this Leeds team. His fitness could determine whether the Whites stay in the Premier League or not. 

Having just come back from a long-term injury it is vital Bielsa treats Bamford with care. He, along with the rest of the squad, seems to be made of glass this season with Bamford amazingly being re-injured whilst celebrating a Whites goal. 

That could be an indicator that he wasn’t entirely ready and was rushed back into action. 

In all honesty, this cup tie against West Ham isn’t worth risking Bamford. The England international should be playing more than a half of football, at the absolute most, as he looks to work his way back to full fitness. 

It is vital he is fit and firing for our games in the league this season, without his link-up play, goals, assists and work rate up top Leeds could find themselves continuing to struggle.

In other Whites news, Leeds United optimistic of reaching new contract agreement for Adam Forshaw as talks continue – Phil Hay.