Patrick Bamford evokes Lee Chapman memory for Leeds United - and is a reminder of the January work in store for Sheffield United and Middlesbrough

FOR seasoned Leeds United supporters, watching Patrick Bamford's match-winning weekend strike at Bolton Wanderers may have evoked memories of old from just up the road many moons ago.

Patrick Bamford.
Patrick Bamford.

It was in January, 1990 during United's second-tier promotion campaign of 1989-90 that another tall centre-forward in the shape of Lee Chapman announced himself in Whites colours with a debut league goal in the 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers.

The goal was a first of a round dozen that the former Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday marksman, reunited with old mentor Howard Wilkinson, netted in Leeds' charge for the old Second Division title.

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Several feted moments arrived along the way against the likes of West Ham and Oxford United, not to mention the only goal on that balmy final-day in Bournemouth.

Patrick Bamford.

Back to the present and Bamford may have signed in the summer, of course. But given his absence for the bulk of the first half of 2018-19, the season is only now starting in earnest for the forward, whose first league goal for Leeds on Saturday was the true signature of his arrival.

It was also a reminder of what Leeds have got and what several other promotion aspirants will be craving in the January transfer window - a tried, tested and fully charged pedigree striker ravenous to make up for lost time.

Of course, Leeds also have another potential trump card up their sleeve in Izzy Brown and the presence of the former Huddersfield Town loanee - who made some key contributions in the second half of the Terriers' promotion campaign of 2016-17 - allied to Bamford is likely to evoke envious glances at opposite ends of Yorkshire at Sheffield United and Middlesbrough.

Both the Blades and Boro have key work to do in the January window - more especially in the attacking department - to quite possibly keep their Championship show on the road, Leeds' attacking options are all currently in-house, by contrast.

The road to promotion is rarely a smooth one, with bumps in the road appearing, as those in the know and seasoned with experiences from successful second-tier campaigns of yore at Bramall Lane and the Riverside Stadium will know too well.

It pays to cover your bases and also throw in a curve ball at times.

During the Blades' promotion of 2005-06, Neil Warnock brought in the quartet of Brian Deane, Garry Flitcroft, Ade Akinbiyi and Bruce Dyer during the winter to fortify the club's hopes of lasting the course.

Granted, contributions were not exactly earth-shattering across the board, but the addition of some hardened dressing-room experience ultimately assisted in the Blades holding their nerve at the business end of the season.

The mid-season additions of Paul Wood and Wilf Rostron during the Blades' similarly successful 1989-90 campaign - with the pair producing quietly-effective contributions - will be not lost upon shrewd Unitedites either.

Post-Christmas input can also be spectacular, with Boro forever grateful to the barnstorming input of a much-loved German striker called Uwe Fuchs in getting the club's 1994-95 promotion push back on the rails in the new year.

The burly forward, signed on loan from Kaiserslautern, scored six goals in his first five starts - including a hat-trick against Bristol City - to help propel Boro back into the promotion positions and become an Ayresome Park cult hero in the process.

Boro later reinforced their ranks with the late-season signing of Jan-Aage Fjortoft in a campaign which ended in Champagne-fuelled scenes.

A few seasons later in 1997-98, the Teessiders famously also wafted the chequebook in the new year to bring in not one, but three forwards to give them a decisive edge in an almighty four-way fight for automatic promotion involving themselves, north-east rivals Sunderland, Nottingham Forest and Charlton Athletic.

Marco Branca, Hamilton Ricard and Alun Armstrong arrived in the space of one hectic week to help ease the pressure upon the shoulders of Paul Merson and Boro came home in second.

Paul Gascoigne was another late-season signing in another statement of Boro's intent.

Gaston Ramirez's arrival in the winter window of 2016 is also widely cited as being the catalyst in Boro's promotion of 2015-16.

It certainly pays to be smart if you have not already made provisions.