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Patrick Bamford: Daniel Farke says striker is not a “guaranteed starter”

Patrick Bamford is taken off and replaced by Mateo Joseph.

Leeds United manager Daniel Farke failed to criticise Patrick Bamford for his recent performances but admitted the striker is not a guaranteed starter for the club in the final five games of the season.

Bamford has missed two glaring chances in the last two Leeds games against Hull and Coventry City, the latter proving costly as the Whites went down 2-1 in their first defeat of the calendar year.

That’s led to calls for either Joel Piroe, who came on and scored during Saturday’s game, or Mateo Joseph, who is proving to be a huge fan favourite, to start up front in place of Bamford.

Leeds manager defends Patrick Bamford

When addressing the media ahead of Tuesday night’s game against Sunderland, Farke defended out-of-form Bamford but did state that the one-time England international was not a “guaranteed starter”.

“Right now we’ve played 41 games and it’s important not to question our players too much,” said Farke. “In some situations he could be more focused, but don’t underestimate what he is doing for us.

“It’s important we back our key players. Now is not the time for experiments.”

Farke also commented on the injury list heading into the match against the Black Cats and said captain Ethan Ampadu (illness) is a major doubt. He also stated that both Connor Roberts and Willy Gnonto are expected to be on the bench again.

Despite these issues, the German manager backed himself and the players to come through this minor blip and the growing injury problems, with Leeds looking to overhaul Ipswich or Leicester into the automatic promotion places with victory over a dangerous Sunderland team.

“I’m at my best when the sea is getting rough and you have to show leadership,” Farke added. “But football is never just a manager’s game. The most important are the players.”

“Nothing to play for is all relative in football (speaking of Sunderland being mid-table ahead of Tuesday night’s game). They have had several manager changes.

“Playing Leeds feels like a cup game for every opponent. Opponents want to be the first team to win here. You could say they can play with freedom without anything to lose.”

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