Leeds striker Patrick Bamford is facing an uphill battle to play again this season, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.
Bamford has had an injury-hit season at Elland Road, and he suffered another fitness setback last month.
What’s happened to Bamford?
The 28-year-old made a bright start to the season by scoring in his third league appearance of the campaign against Burnley in August.
The following month, he was handed his England debut against Andorra, but very little has gone right for him since.
Bamford has been sidelined for lengthy spells with ankle and hamstring injuries, and he was dealt another blow at the end of March when he was ruled out for at least six weeks with a foot problem.
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What has O’Rourke said about Bamford?
This timeframe would suggest that Bamford could return for the final couple of weeks of the season in May. O’Rourke has his doubts, though, and feels the £18m-rated forward may not set foot on the pitch again until the start of the 2022/23 season.
He told GIVEMESPORT: “With Patrick Bamford, unfortunately, facing another spell on the sidelines, I think he’s going to do well to try and get back before the end of the season with his foot injury.”
Should Bamford target getting fit for the start of next season?
Given how many injuries he has had this season, it may be wise for Bamford to forget about rushing back to play again before the current campaign concludes. It would be disastrous for Leeds if he did get back on the pitch, and then got injured straight away.
Then again, it may depend on how Leeds are getting on in terms of their league position. Jesse Marsch’s side are unbeaten in their last three league games, picking up two wins along the way, to open up a significant gap between themselves and the relegation zone.
If they can maintain their advantage over the bottom three sides and secure their place in the Premier League with a few games to spare, there will be no need to take any risks with Bamford.
However, if it looks like their fate will be decided in the last couple of games of the season, they may have to face up to the prospect of getting Bamford as fit as possible and throwing him into matches, even if he is not in his best condition, due to how important he is to the team.