Leeds United v QPR: United boss Marcelo Bielsa may finally pair Patrick Bamford and Eddie Nketiah from the start

Eddie Nketiah
Eddie Nketiah
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Leeds United could pair Patrick Bamford and Eddie Nketiah against Queens Park Rangers at Elland Road tomorrow, but Marcelo Bielsa will not push either out wide.

The head coach has favoured a lone striker this season but with Nketiah making an ever-stronger case to start, he is open to change.

Patrick Bamford.

Patrick Bamford.

Asked if Bamford and Nketiah could play together, Bielsa replied: “As wingers, no, because neither feels comfortable in this position. But one behind the other is a possibility.”

The Championship’s best defensive record has put Leeds only two points behind early leaders West Bromwich Albion but Bielsa feels their attacking play has improved too, without the ruthlessness to capitalise.

“It’s a team that is growing and keeping the level (it showed last season) defensively,” he reflected. “The team has improved offensively as well, but the efficiency is worse now.

“It is unfair that everybody points at the no 9 as being responsible. Everybody is involved in the offensive play.”

Liam Cooper followed last week’s cameo at Hillsborough with 45 minutes for the under-23s against Burnley on Monday and it is hard to imagine Bielsa not restoring his captain to the XI, having become such a key player for him.

“There’s an unbelievable difference – physically, mentally, everything,” Cooper said of his progression since Bielsa took charge last summer.

“He’s unbelievable to work for, he’s as honest as they come, he tells you how it is, if you don’t like you don’t like it but he’s not going to shy away from that and for me I think this is the best way.

“They always say a centre-half primes in his later years and I certainly believe I am doing that.”