Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is unable to put a time frame on Patrick Bamford’s return from an ankle problem – insisting it is “not a simple injury”.
Bamford, who scored 17 Premier League goals last season, has not played since the draw at Newcastle on September 17. It was hoped he would be back after the October international break, but the striker has still not returned to full fitness.
The 28-year-old will miss Sunday’s clash with Leicester at Elland Road, extending his absence to eight matches and meaning that he has missed more games than he has played this season.
Asked when Bamford might return, Bielsa replied: “It’s all subject to his evolution.
“It’s the problem in his ankle. The time of his diagnostic has not been fulfilled yet. It’s not a simple injury and because of the disappearance of the pain or the tolerance of the pain we can’t give an exact prognosis.
“The response I give when I say it’s subject to his evolution, don’t let it be interpreted as me not giving all the information I possess. The injuries like this, their prognosis, when he will be available to play, can’t be given exactly.”
Leeds have scored just five goals in Bamford’s absence, with Bielsa trying Rodrigo, Tyler Roberts and Joe Gelhardt up front in an attempt to fill the void.
Asked if other players need to do more in front of goal when last season’s top scorer does not play, Bielsa said: “If you also look at the data you will also notice that Bamford has also gone times without scoring when he has been in the starting line-up for Leeds.
“To have a goalscorer is always very important, the fact that Patrick scored a goal every two games last season is impossible to ignore and we prepare ourselves to be able to solve the absence of any player.”
The last game before another international break sees Leeds looking to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season, following last weekend’s 2-1 success at Norwich.
Bielsa’s team, who finished ninth last season on their return to the Premier League, could be in the relegation places when they kick-off against Leicester on Sunday.
The Leeds boss admitted he expects more from his players and felt they would be higher up the table at this stage.
“Our objective is (to build) momentum and that is what we hope and more than predict it, I think we need to show it,” said Bielsa.
“I have been evaluating them game by game because all of the performances haven’t been the same. There were games that were won, lost and drawn that generate the same points but with different qualities.
“The amount of points that we have, where it positions us in the table where we are right now, is not what we wanted to get.”
Meanwhile, Leeds have confirmed that 49ers Enterprises have increased their minority stake in the club to 44 per cent.
Chief executive Angus Kinnear said: “We are delighted to see Aser Ventures strengthen their partnership with 49ers Enterprises who have clearly been impressed by the quality of the project.
“Aser Ventures and chairman Andrea Radrizzani remain unequivocally committed to the club, whilst all those involved with the 49ers are actively working with our management team on a daily basis to help to drive us forward, putting us in a strong position to achieve our goals in the coming years.”
Leeds are assessing Jamie Shackleton and Junior Firpo ahead of the Leicester match.
Shackleton was forced off with a knock at Norwich, while Firpo has been out for over a month after sustaining a muscle injury during the October international break.