Patrick Bamford's message to Leeds United team-mates ahead of Middlesbrough return

Patrick Bamford celebrates his goal for Leeds against Bolton earlier this season.
Patrick Bamford celebrates his goal for Leeds against Bolton earlier this season.

Patrick Bamford believes Leeds must stick to their style against Middlesbrough this weekend, rather than making it a physical battle.

The 25-year-old striker will return to Teesside for the first time since he left Boro last summer, when he made the switch to West Yorkshire.

With both sides fighting for promotion from the Championship, the game is reaching a sell-out crowd, with more than 30,000 tickets sold.

Bamford is well aware of Boro's excellent defensive record under Tony Pulis, which has seen them concede just nine league goals at the Riverside this season.

Yet the Teessiders have struggled at the other end of the pitch, where they have only netted 14 goals at home in the Championship.

“It’s going to be interesting,” said Bamford, who scored 19 goals in 54 games for Boro during his first spell at the club four years ago.

“Obviously I stay in touch with a lot of friends I’ve made up there and from what I’ve heard they’ve played quite defensive this year against our style, which is extremely attacking and the amount of running we do in a game.

“They play a more direct style of play and we have the, almost, I don’t know whether you want to call it tiki-taka, but it’s that kind of possession-based, quick-flowing, attacking football.

“It will be a good game for the fans to watch and hopefully they won’t be able to cancel us out.”

Bamford returned to Boro in 2017 following difficult loan spells at Crystal Palace, Norwich and Burnley.

After a stuttering start to his second stint on Teesside, Bamford still scored 14 goals in 53 appearances before his move to Eland Road.

Since the switch, Bamford has suffered multiple injuries, which have hampered his progress this term.

He has also struggled to break into Leeds' talented forward line, which the striker believes could make the difference against Boro.

“Being a defensive team it’s going to be a game where we have to be focused on being fully concentrated the whole match,” added Bamford.

“In terms of where they’re vulnerable, we’ve got individual players who can create things out of nothing. It might come down to a magical moment from one of the boys.

“It will be stupid to say, if you launch long balls up to them, obviously they’ve got three or five massive defenders who are going to be brilliant at heading the ball and anything that comes up in the air in a physical battle they’re going to be very strong with.

“In terms of that, if we stick to our style, hopefully it will come up trumps.”

Bamford hasn't started a league game for Leeds this season but did come off the bench during the 3-1 defeat to Norwich last weekend.

If he does feature, Bamford is likely to receive a warm reception from the Boro fans, and the striker still has fond memories of his time on Teesside.

"I had a great time at Middlesbrough,” recalled Bamford. “I’ve obviously got a lot of love for the club and I enjoyed my time there.

“It was one of them where the manager saw it as the time for me to leave and, thankfully, Marcelo’s showed a lot of faith in me and basically put it to me he wanted me to join this huge club.

“I haven’t got a bad word to say about Middlesbrough, to be honest, but it’s going to be exciting going back.