Leeds United v Brentford: Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling back to boost Marcelo Bielsa’s men

NEWS regarding the likely return to the first-team fray of Patrick Bamford and Luke Ayling has rounded off a good week for Leeds United.

Leeds United's Patrick Bamford: Has been sorely missed.
Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Leeds United's Patrick Bamford: Has been sorely missed. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The mission now is to start off the new one in uplifting fashion at home to Brentford tomorrow (2pm) as United seek to secure back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since May.

Sidelined with ankle and knee injuries, respectively, since September 17, Bamford and Ayling’s return to the squad against the Bees would arrive at a timely juncture.

More especially with Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool also on the December itinerary.

Both played leading roles in United’s rise to the top-flight and an impressive first season back in the big time. They are also likely to be leant upon if Leeds are to consolidate after a testing first half of 2021-22.

Head coach Marcelo Bielsa said: “It is likely that they will be available for the game on Sunday. He (Bamford) is a player who scored one goal every two games last season.

“It is enough to show and signify his importance. Even when he doesn’t score, he is an important part of the way the team functions.

“Ayling makes a contribution. He has a weight in the offensive part of our team and we have used (Jamie) Shackleton and (Stuart) Dallas in his absence who have maintained that offensive contribution. We have had to adapt to temporary absences.”

Bielsa remains philosophical over erroneous press reports which suggested that his relationship with key midfielder Kalvin Phillips has become strained.

In the aftermath of United’s win over Crystal Palace on Tuesday, the England international set the record straight regarding rumours of a rift with Bielsa and stressed that he would ‘never fall out’ with the United chief.

Bielsa said: “It (false stories) is what is common in the world of football. It is difficult to express yourself over things that didn’t happen and that there is nothing behind it and that they are expressed as a reality.

“This was describing something that didn’t happen at all. The way the press are, the objective is very clear – to bring attention through any type of resource. The press, not only do they inform, but they have the legitimate need that what they tell wakes up (false) interest.”