Monday 19 August 2019

Captain Cooper backs returning Bamford to shine

Leeds United's Patrick Bamford. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Leeds United's Patrick Bamford. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Leeds captain Liam Cooper is confident team-mate Patrick Bamford can make amends for his "stupid" suspension.

Bamford is expected to go straight back into Leeds' starting line-up for the return leg of their Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final against Derby tonight.

He has served a two-game ban for deceiving the referee in the recent home draw against Aston Villa and, having shown remorse, he now has the chance of swift redemption due to Kemar Roofe's calf injury.

"There's no worries about Pat being fit and we all know what he can do," said Cooper.

"He's got this unbelievable confidence about him. If he misses chances he always knows he's still going to score.

"It's a weird confidence, but a good one to have in the team and we take from that as well."

Bamford has scored 10 goals in 24 appearances in all competitions for Leeds since arriving from Middlesbrough in the summer in a deal reported to be worth up to £10 million (€11.5m).

He feigned injury, falling theatrically to the floor, during a confrontation with Villa's Anwar El Ghazi in the game which ended in a mass melee at Elland Road last month.

El Ghazi was sent off for violent conduct, but his red card was later rescinded after television replays showed there had been no contact, while Bamford was charged by the Football Association for deceiving a match official.

"He came in straight away and apologised to me and the boys for what happened, and the staff as well," Cooper said.

"It's one of those things in the heat of the moment. Sometimes you make stupid decisions and Pat will admit that.

"But this last 10 days he's been suspended he's certainly trained a lot harder than he would if he was playing."

Roofe's 55th-minute goal in the first leg against Derby at Pride Park on Saturday has given Leeds the advantage.

Leeds have had the upper hand in their last three meetings with Derby, winning 4-1 at Pride Park and 2-0 at Elland Road during the regular season.

Leeds United v Derby County

Live, Sky Sports, 7.45

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