Patrick Bamford returned to the Leeds United team yesterday after several months out of action with a bizarre PCL knee injury. The striker, who cost a reported £7 million in the summer, had played just seven games for Leeds before the injury struck. None of his league appearances came from the starting XI.
Yesterday, he jumped off the bench to score the winning goal against Bolton after returning from injury a month earlier than expected. The result put Leeds top of the Championship table after a five-game winning streak.
So could the injury have worked as a blessing for Leeds and Bamford?
Bamford has been sitting on the sidelines waiting for his chance. During that time he has built up something of a cult rapport with many fans. Bamford will be the returning hero to add the extra spark Leeds need for promotion, has been the rhetoric.
He has also been indoctrinated into the Leeds life under Marcelo Bielsa without the scrutiny of matchday action. It is clear how much Bielsa loves the striker. Watch the way in which he embraced him after a recent volley in training went viral.
All the while, Bamford has been eating like a Bielsa player, recovering like a Bielsa player and working like a Bielsa player.
Bamford signed at the very end of July. The reason he was initially being eased into the Leeds team was that he missed the bulk of the Argentine’s now notorious pre-season regime.
Now he comes back into a Leeds team at a moment they need fresh impetus. For once he gives genuine meaning to the cliched phrase ‘like a new signing.’
It seemed like a massive blow at the time. However, Bamford only getting going now might be a blessing for the potent Championship threat. If he stays fit, Leeds will have the man to fire them into the Premier League.