By Ben Brown

20th Apr, 2022 | 2:40pm

Patrick Bamford back in training as forward eyes Leeds United return

Patrick Bamford has taken part in first-team training at Leeds United, giving fresh hope that the England man can get fit for the Whites’ crucial run-in.

The 28-year-old was pictured in the gym at Thorp Arch by official club media which is the first time we’ve seen the striker involved with the first team since rupturing his plantar fascia in the 3-2 victory over Wolves.

Leeds’ number nine had previously told the Yorkshire Evening Post he didn’t expect to return before the end of the season unless the club remained in a precarious league position, in which case he’d push to play a part in the last couple of games.

But it now seems the once capped England forward is ahead of schedule in his recovery, with both player and manager Jesse Marsch previously eyeing up the Whites’ last two games against Brighton and Brentford as Bamford’s goal to aim for.

Desperately Needed

A lot has been said about the lack of squad depth at Elland Road and with Bamford missing the large bulk of the campaign Leeds have been crying out for a natural centre forward all season.

Dan James has deputized up top on many occasions and whilst he keeps busy and constantly hassles opposition defences his end product has often left a lot to be desired, and with his short stature lacks the physicality to retain possession and bring others into play.

That is something Bamford did so well last season, allowing Jack Harrison and Raphinha to bomb on past and use their own talents to hurt the opposing side in the final third.

Tyler Roberts hasn’t been effective at all and his own season has been ended by injury regardless, whilst Marsch has only just started getting a tune out of Rodrigo after the club-record signing struggled for most of the campaign.

That sharp upturn in form has helped Leeds claw themselves away from danger with 10 points taken from the last 12 available, but safety is still not guaranteed with both sides below them Everton and Burnley holding games in hand.

It’s likely going to be enough to keep the Whites’ in the division, but if it does come to it Bamford might have to step into the breach for Leeds once more.

In other Leeds United news, Tony Dorigo has responded to Jesse Marsch’s comments on the players apparent ‘overtraining’.