Dealing with fans is part and parcel of being a footballer and the only way to silence your critics is to prove yourself out on the pitch – just like Patrick Bamford did against Preston North End on Tuesday night.
A brace at Deepdale fired his side to a crucial three points in the hunt for automatic promotion and it would have been a confidence boosting game for the 25-year-old, who had gone four games without netting.
Why he is still under pressure?
Speaking after the game, Bamford unsurprisingly revealed that it was a relief to score the goals, but not only because of his barren run but because of the boo boys among the fans.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, he said: “I remember when we were warming up and I scored in the warm up, a couple of fans, I don’t know how many it was, they were jeering sarcastically when I scored.
“I thought ‘Jesus Christ, really?’ but it was nice to get that one out of the way and I know that now that I have had that little dry patch of four games or whatever it was, hopefully now I can carry on and start a little run.”
Bamford might have though that getting a couple of goals would take the heat off him but it actually puts more pressure than ever on his shoulders.
Firstly, the fan base at Elland Road will be expecting more goals from him now – after all, he finally impressed in front of goal at Preston – and if he thought the jeers were bad away from home, wait until he fails to perform in front of his own supporters.
The race for automatic promotion is intense and goals win you games – the expectation lies at Bamford’s door right now.
Secondly, he has a fierce rival coming back from injury in the form of Kemar Roofe.
What it means?
Roofe is still Leeds’ top scorer with 14 goals and having made a step up in terms of fitness, will be looking for his starting XI role sooner rather than later.
It is the first time Marcelo Bielsa has had both strikers fit this season and so Bamford knows one slip up could see him returning to the bench in the blink of an eye. Right now, because of both what is at stake and the man waiting behind him the pecking order, there is no room for error.
The pressure is on – will he sink or swim?