Leeds United suffered another typical injury blow in light of their impressive 0-0 draw with Chelsea at the weekend as leading talisman Patrick Bamford went off ten minutes before half-time.
It remains to be seen whether or not the 27-year-old will be fit in time for their fixture with old Championship foes Fulham on Friday evening, but given his importance to Marcelo Bielsa, the 13-goal striker may well not be risked so soon anyway.
Therefore, it leaves the Whites boss with plenty to ponder in terms of team selection.
Rodrigo, the man who replaced Bamford at Stamford Bridge, is still not match-fit as he was withdrawn before the full-time whistle.
The United faithful could well also see Tyler Roberts lead the line after a string of impressive performances in a deeper role, though you can forget about him playing up top if he’s doing the business in another role.
Perhaps it means it is time for Bielsa to throw the reins to young striking sensation Joe Gelhardt – there can’t be a better encounter to see what he can do as Fulham are flirting with the prospects of relegation, even despite their improving form.
The 18-year-old, signed from Wigan for just £700k, has been talked up by Bamford himself in recent months, who said: “He reminds me – I don’t want to say the same level as (Wayne) Rooney – but he is the same kind of build as Rooney was. A stocky lad, great finisher.”
Football Insider claimed that words like “phenomenal” and “electrifying” have been used to describe him behind the scenes at Elland Road, and quite rightly too.
In Premier League 2 this term, the teenage prodigy has bagged eight goals and three assists in 14 appearances, via Transfermarkt.
Unlike Rodrigo or Roberts, he’s a true centre-forward, so he’s surely the natural replacement for Bamford should he miss Friday’s match.
Gelhardt has made Bielsa’s bench five times but is yet to taste his senior debut, so clearly, he’s a player who is well thought of by the Leeds boss.
Indeed, the Argentine waxed lyrical about his young forward, telling reporters last month: “He’s a player that always creates danger in a game. He’s a player who’s more linked with the finalising of chances rather than the creation of them. He has resources to beat an opponent and he has a final shot, a finish that is very good.”
But what good are all these glowing endorsements if we’re not going to see just how good his potential can be for the first team? If Bamford is out this week, Bielsa absolutely has to unleash the 18-year-old gem.