Pundit and former footballer Chris Kamara believes Leeds are poised to finally regain their Premier League status – praising manager Marcelo Bielsa as the Whites top the Championship table and lead third-placed Fulham by 11 points.
West Brom’s draw to Wigan Athletic on Wednesday night saw the Baggies miss out on the chance to return to the Championship summit as Leeds notched a seventh straight league win with their earlier midweek victory over Hull City to edge in front on goal difference.
That is thanks in large part to the side’s stubborn defence, which has conceded just 10 goals this season – less than half the amount West Brom have let in.
Speaking on TalkSPORT, Kamara praised the reaction of the Leeds squad following their play-off heartache last season, while he singled out manager Bielsa for special recognition as they look set to end their 16-year Premier League exile.
He said: “Leeds and West Brom are the two outstanding sides in the division this year. The rest of them will all be playing catch-up. They look so strong.
“I went to the semi-final against Derby last year, and that was a situation where [Leeds] probably just weren’t ready, anyway.
“I said, ‘Trust this fella, if they can keep him – Bielsa – you will get promoted next year’.
“They’re not there yet, there’s still a long, long way to go, but it’s looking more than likely.
“All my friends were saying a few weeks ago ‘he’s got to get Bamford out the team’ – all of a sudden he scores a couple of goals, wins the matches for them and I said look, trust him – he knows what he’s doing.”
Kamara’s prediction appears to be coming true, with Leeds in an extremely commanding position as the season nears its halfway point.
Meanwhile, Bielsa’s faith in Bamford – who has only recently returned to scoring form after a barren spell in the autumn, is perhaps a prime example of the faith fans should now have in the Argentinian manager and the team to finally bring top-flight football back to Elland Road.
And although Kamara points out there is a long way to go, his foresight of Leeds’ fortunes is arguably another positive sign in the Whites’ hunt for promotion having placed themselves in firm contention thanks to their superb form over the last few weeks and months that may require no need for the play-offs this time around.
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