Javi Gracia continues to tease big Rodrigo and Bamford development at Leeds United with crucial Brighton game looming

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Javi Gracia has hinted that Leeds United pair Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo could take part in the action against Brighton in another crucial game this weekend.

The Whites sit 17th in the table, but only six points separate the sides from 12th down to 20th, with the relegation battle one of the fiercest in recent Premier League memory.

Gracia’s side have scored only once under his tutelage so far, from three games. They have looked weaker in attack, even if defensively things have tightened up somewhat.

Goals could be key in the battle to survive. Leeds were without Bamford for the previous trip to Chelsea last weekend, and have had to deal with the loss of top scorer Rodrigo since January when he was said to miss two months of the season after an injury sustained in the win over Accrington Stanley.

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LEEDS, ENGLAND – JANUARY 22: Leeds player Rodrigo makes a point during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Brentford FC at Elland Road on January 22, 2023 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Questioned during his pre-match press conference on whether Rodrigo or Bamford could feature, Gracia insisted that all of his squad are important for the run-in, he said: “I think we need all the players, of course in the last game we didn’t have many other options to substitute some attacking players.”

However, Gracia hinted that they could be involved and ahead of schedule if training goes well in their last session prior to the match as he is in search of of an increase of players to his pool of options, he added: “Now we are working with more players, I suppose if everything is right in the next training session, we will have more options for the next game.”

They would be a bonus, but not essential as Gracia reiterated his trust in all the players within his squad, he continued: “But that’s not important for me, we always try to prepare for the next game with the players we have. We have a good squad. I trust in all the players.”

Specifically questioned about Bamford, the Spaniard outlined that he has been working extra hard with him to get him up to speed, he continued: “I think Patrick is an important player for us.

“What I’m really focused on is trying to give his best version. It’s my work and I try to help him to do it.”

It would be a huge lift to have one of the pair back, let alone both.

Leeds need goals but also options to change things should they be struggling in attack as they have done of late. The Whites have looked toothless in front of goal, despite looking sturdier at the back.

Leeds have quality in their attacking roles, and if either of the two are back it would take some pressure off Georginio Rutter’s shoulders, too.

He is not a lone striker and should not be used in that way if either of Bamford or Rodrigo are available again on Saturday.

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