It is a tough call, isn’t it? With both of Leeds United’s strikers fit once again, it leaves Marcelo Bielsa with a dilemma as to who he should start: Kemar Roofe, Patrick Bamford or alternatively both.
Both of Bielsa’s strikers have had their own spells as Bielsa’s starting striker this season. Roofe has had two spells on the sidelines through injury, nearing a month each time but whenever he has been fit, he has impacted the side positively whether that be on his own up top or playing as a second striker.
Bamford has suffered heavily with knee issues but at the start of February, he finally began a regular run of games in which he has netted some decisive goals.
So, with both options now fit again and raring to solidify their claim for a starting spot in the latter stages of the season, we can discuss who could lead the line against Preston North End tonight…
Roofe’s influence on the side has been a key part as to United’s standing in the League. More often than not, Roofe, who is valued at £4.5 million (by Transfermarkt), has been in the right place at the right time to tuck away his chances, using his turn of pace and positional awareness to get on the end of opportunities. It is said qualities that have helped him to net 14 times in the division as of yet.
In the back end of the season, if he can prove to Bielsa that he should overthrow Bamford as the starting striker by offering more up to then he should be the striker he turns to.
Upon his return to the side, Bamford was in fine form as he netted five times and assisted once in eight games.
However, in the past three games, he has not made too much of an impact and notably struggled to put away his chances in the defeat to Birmingham City. Even still, Bielsa is likely to keep faith in Bamford as a result of the service he will offer up top and the fact that Roofe is only just coming back from time on the sidelines.
It could very well be a case of the pair starting together tonight. Bielsa told the media that “There is a possibility that Pablo cannot play the game. Roofe will play in his position if Hernandez cannot play.”
So, if Hernandez misses out then both are all but certain to start together. Roofe could feature on the right-wing, or, he could take up a more central role behind Bamford, with Tyler Roberts potentially moving out wide.
Dependant on how the pair perform together, that could be another option for Bielsa to think about when Hernandez returns, with Roberts potentially missing out. However, with the form Roberts has been in, it seems most likely it will be one or the other in regards to the striker role and that will surely very much be impacted by Roofe and Bamford’s performances tonight.