Leeds United are building a compelling case for promotion this season with every passing fixture, and with the former Nottingham Forest striker Patrick Bamford back in the first-team fold there is plenty of reason for Championship opposition to fear the Whites.
Bamford’s career has not quite lived up to the billing which was tipped for him as a youngster, but his move to Leeds could be the making of him. The commanding striker started his career at Nottingham Forest and was highly regarded by both the staff and the hierarchy, but Chelsea eventually swooped in to sign him for just £1.5 million.
Forest’s failure to hold on to Bamford was rueful for the club’s chairman at the time Frank Clark and he couldn’t hide his frustration during an interview with BBC Radio Nottingham (via BBC).
“I’m disappointed I’m not going to see Patrick develop in a Nottingham Forest shirt over the next two years,” Clark told BBC Radio Nottingham.
“We used to be able to hang on to players for a couple of years into the first team – Michael Dawson, Andy Reid, Marlon Harewood, Jermaine Jenas – people like that – before the big clubs came in.”
Nearly seven years on from Bamford’s decision to leave Forest and the 25-year-old finds himself back at the same level, plying his trade with Leeds United after sealing a summer switch to Elland Road.
His season has unfortunately been marred by a serious knee ligament injury, but lingering signs of rustiness were absent when he fired home the winning goal away at Bolton Wanderers upon his return.
The manner in which he returned to the fold with such conviction hinted that he will have a huge role to play in Leeds’ push for promotion this season, even if he is forced to accept the role of Roofe’s understudy.
Meanwhile, Forest are mounting a promotion push of their own with Lewis Grabban regularly finding the net for Aitor Karanka’s side, but with Daryl Murphy, 35, representing their next best alternative the situation is looking rather precarious.
If Grabban suffers a lengthy injury Forest will be in trouble, and the lack of quality alternatives could come back to haunt them.
Marcelo Bielsa, however, will not be burdened by similar concerns with both Roofe and Bamford to chose from as well as Tyler Roberts, and that strength in depth at centre-forward could prove telling in their bid to reach the promised land of the top-flight.
Forest made a profit of £1.5 million on their academy product, which represents pennies in today’s market, and with 37 Championship goals in his career Bamford possesses a prolific streak which will make Forest rue his departure that little bit extra as the season progresses.
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