By Jonty Banks

19th Dec, 2022 | 9:10am

Patrick Bamford unlikely to feature in Leeds United v Monaco friendly as Jesse Marsch manages his road to recovery

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford is unlikely to be picked in the matchday squad for the AS Monaco friendly on Wednesday (21 December) as Jesse Marsch continues to manage his workload carefully after injury.

The 29-year-old’s season has been plagued by a string of untimely injuries this season, with the forward featuring just four times for Marsch’s side in all competitions.

After undergoing minor groin surgery earlier this month, the Englishman is in a race against time to return for the Premier League clash with Manchester City (Wednesday 28 December).

And according to the Yorkshire Evening Post, doubts have now been placed on the timeframe of his recovery, with the friendly this week coming too early for Bamford.

The report said: “Jesse Marsch and head of medicine and performance Rob Price have been forced to manage Bamford’s workload closely in order to avoid recurrences of minor injuries that robbed him of continuity last season.

“Bamford played no part in Leeds’ friendly triumphs over Elche or La Real and is altogether unlikely to be involved in the squad to face AS Monaco this Wednesday.

“This further casts doubt on his readiness for the return of the Premier League season when Manchester City visit Elland Road next week.”

Small steps needed

Leeds must be cautious with the recovery of the injury-plagued Bamford and can’t force too much pressure on the striker, despite his importance to the club.

The Englishman is clearly no longer able to deal with the physical demands of the Premier League week in week out, so he must be used sparingly by Marsch in the second half of the season.

There is no doubting his quality in front of goal, but the injuries have added up over time, and the Whites will surely be looking for attacking reinforcements in the January transfer window.

Let him rest for the Monaco friendly, and hopefully, the Englishman will be fit enough to feature at some point before the new year, even if it just from the bench.

In his stead, Rodrigo can hold the fort after his stunning start to the season, while the likes of Mateo Joseph and Sonny Perkins will surely be chomping at the bit for Premier League minutes after handsome returns for the Under-23s.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites look set to sign the new Jude Bellingham to replace Mateusz Klich.