By Mark Walker, PA
Jesse Marsch believes Patrick Bamford is key to Leeds’ chances of climbing the Premier League table.
Marsch’s side are aiming to snap a six-game winless run at bottom club Leicester on Thursday night and the Leeds head coach is backing Bamford to break his goalscoring drought at the King Power Stadium.
“He’s getting chances in bunches and his talent is so high it’s only a matter of time before those chances start to go his way,” Marsch said.
“And when they do we could start to see a total change of momentum, for him and for us.
“So that’s the goal. We’ve got to challenge him and support him and let him know that it’s close.
“We believe that, he believes that and Thursday could be a catalyst for that and for him for the rest of the season.”
Bamford’s fitness issues have continued this season – he made only nine league appearances during the 2021/22 campaign – and has not netted since December.
He missed a penalty in Sunday’s home defeat to Arsenal and spurned several other chances, but proved no end of trouble for the Gunners’ defence after stepping off the bench and helped shift momentum in Leeds’ favour.
Marsch said: “With goalscorers that’s almost all they think about, scoring goals, and I’m challenging Patrick to continue to grow into the type of striker we need.
“I’ve said for a couple of weeks now, we think he’s a big part of the solution.”
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers is under mounting pressure after his side have won only one of their first 10 league games.
Rodgers will be without six injured players against Leeds, including top goalscorer James Maddison, but Marsch insists the Foxes are much better than their current placing suggests.
“I think they’re dangerous,” he added. “When teams are a little desperate for points, listen Leicester have been playing better than what their record is.
“It means it might be hard to predict what their line-up, tactics and performance might be.
“So we are expecting their absolute best and we’d be foolish to think anything other than that and when they are at their best, they’re a very good team.
“We’d be very foolish to not expect them to be ready for a big performance.”
Bamford is expected to return to Leeds’ starting line-up, while left-back Junior Firpo will make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a knee injury in place of the injured Pascal Struijk.