Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis has told the Daily Star that he wants his strikers to mirror Leeds United ace Patrick Bamford’s 2017-18 run of form as they push for the Championship play-offs.
The 25-year-old striker joined Leeds in the summer for a reported £7million fee, and has since scored seven goals in 18 games. He missed the majority of the first half of the season due to a posterior cruciate ligament injury.
Pulis is desperate for Boro to finish in the top six, but last Saturday’s 1-0 loss to league leaders Norwich City leaves Boro in eighth place. They remain just two points behind sixth-placed Aston Villa.
Bamford went on an excellent run for Boro last season, scoring nine goals in seven games – including a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Leeds. Pulis wants his strikers to go on a similar run to the Leeds star.
“Last year, Patrick Bamford went on a little run scoring something like nine goals in ten games and we need someone to do that,” Pulis said. “Results have not gone our way but take the Aston Villa defeat out of the equation and in the other four games, we could have had four wins.”
Bamford is a top player and any Championship side would miss the striker, even if he is somewhat injury prone. His disappointing display against Millwall was saved by his teammates last time out.
Whether Boro will regain a place in the top four remains to be seen. Indeed, Pulis’ side are renowned for being solid at the back, but struggle to score goals. Only three Championship teams have scored less than their 40 goals.
They need to become more expansive. Teams are finding that scoring the first goal against Boro wins them the game, and that needs to change if they are to reach the top six.