Sky Sports pundit Jermaine Beckford firmly believes that Leeds United will seal automatic promotion back to the Premier League this season.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side has suffered from a couple of disappointing results since the season restarted but they remain top of the Championship and, with a game in hand, are three points ahead of third-placed Brentford.

Even though Leeds are top and have been comfortably the best side in the league this term, they have not been immune to criticism and one of the most widely-criticised players at Elland Road is Patrick Bamford.

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But ex-Leeds forward Beckford is clearly a big fan of the 26-year-old, claiming that he is key to the way Bielsa’s side performs.

“Definitely automatically, in my opinion,” Beckford told talkSPORT when asked for his verdict on Leeds’ promotion hopes.

“They’ve been the best footballing side in the league this season, not just because I’ve got my Leeds United hat on, but because I genuinely believe it.

“The way they play football and the intensity they play at is really, really good and a really, really high level of quality.

“A lot of people are saying they don’t score enough goals. They’re saying there are players like Patrick Bamford who should be scoring more but in my opinion, he’s had a phenomenal season. He’s done really, really well.

“Without him being the focal point, Leeds United don’t create as many opportunities.”

Bamford has missed a lot of big chances to score this season but, when you think about it, that is because Leeds create so many chances.

According to stats by FBRef, Leeds have scored 0.25 goals per shot on target in the Championship this season and only relegation-threatened Wigan [0.24] have worse numbers in that area.

Leeds have fired the highest number of shots at goal [672] in the second-tier, with Brentford [608] and West Brom [600] well behind in second and third.

Bamford has spearheaded Leeds’ attack in almost every single game and has contributed to the number of shots but is also to blame for not scoring as many chances.

We understand the criticism – the league leader number nine should be scoring more goals.

But that could be too harsh on the Leeds striker, who does a lot more than just stick the ball in the back of the net.

In other Leeds United news, Leeds and West Brom fans are fuming about what they have noticed about Sky Sports.

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