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Bamford adds to woe for Blades

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Patrick Bamford celebrates bagging the winner in the Yorkshire derby

Patrick Bamford celebrates bagging the winner in the Yorkshire derby

Pool via REUTERS

Patrick Bamford celebrates bagging the winner in the Yorkshire derby

Patrick Bamford is enjoying the type of return to the Premier League enjoyed last season by Sheffield United, whose difficult second campaign received a further setback with Jack O'Connell's long-term injury.

Bamford struck late with a header - more precisely with his nose - to settle the first derby between these teams in the top flight since 1994.

He has scored in each of the three matches played this season, answering doubts about playing at the top level.

Marcelo Bielsa said it was down to Gareth Southgate to pick his squad when asked last week about Bamford's international prospects but the 27-year-old, along with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, is certainly giving the England manager options. Republic of Ireland have also courted him.

"I put more pressure on myself than anyone, people close to me will tell you that," said Bamford.

"It was a case of proving it to myself. I knew in my head I was good enough to play at this level."

It meant a second win for Bielsa's team and their fortunes are a stark contrast to their Yorkshire rivals.

Chris Wilder has studied statistics on "second-season syndrome" but none account for the harsh red that ruled John Egan out of this defeat, nor matches played behind closed doors during a pandemic which has denied them the fans that urged them towards the European places last term.

Losing O'Connell, one of his overlapping centre-backs, to a knee injury is a huge blow to Wilder, who will attempt to sign cover this week and also recruit a striker after failing to score in their first three games.

"We need to cover that situation, it is a huge blow for us," said Wilder. "I've spoken to the owners and we're light in that area. I've recommended to the board that we can bring a couple in."

There was little Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale could have done to stop Bamford's winner, having otherwise produced a fine individual display.

At the other end, Illan Meslier also shone between the posts for the visitors in a match that looked destined to finish goalless until Bamford struck.