Hat-trick shows how Bam­ford has taken his chance

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL - LEON WOB­SCHALL

MID­DLES­BROUGH striker Pa­trick Bam­ford’s beam­ing ex­pres­sion af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle against Leeds United on Fri­day night said it all.

He was back in busi­ness af­ter the first pro­fes­sional hat-trick of his ca­reer – and back in his favoured cen­tral strik­ing role, too.

Bam­ford, en­joy­ing a Boro re­nais­sance to rekin­dle mem­o­ries of his 19-goal haul in the 2014-15 cam­paign on Teesside that saw him named as the Cham­pi­onship’s player of the sea­son, said: “I am en­joy­ing my foot­ball now. I am happy to be play­ing up front.

“I am sure ev­ery­body knows that is what I ideally want to do. We have been through that a lot of times.

“I am a striker and that’s where I want to play. I knew when I got my chance to go up front at Sun­der­land that I had to take it. For­tu­nately I did.”

Bam­ford’s haul of six goals in his past three matches has also helped ease the pain of a tough past few years in his ca­reer, but de­spite some dif­fi­cul­ties he be­lieves that the ad­ver­sity has helped him be­come a stronger and more ma­ture in­di­vid­ual.

He added: “To be hon­est the last few years have prob­a­bly helped me in terms of how I han­dle be­ing in and out of the side. As much as it has been frus­trat­ing not to be in the team I think I have prob­a­bly ma­tured be­cause of it.

“Ear­lier in my ca­reer, when I was at (Crys­tal) Palace and Nor­wich, I know I took things quite badly. I didn’t re­ally han­dle that stage of my ca­reer very well. The same was true at Burn­ley.

“But I think as I have learned and grown up I knew what to do this time when I was left out of the team. I knew I had to work and keep my head on things, and that is pay­ing off so far.”

While Bam­ford’s reemer­gence has been prom­i­nent, the re­mark­able trans­for­ma­tion of Adama Traore con­tin­ues apace with the fly­ing winger hav­ing a hand in two of Bam­ford’s goals on Fri­day to con­tinue his out­stand­ing form.

Bam­ford said: “I said be­fore the game, ‘You had bet­ter as­sist me with at least one goal’. We had a laugh about that.

“You can say that he is un­playable when he gets in that kind of mood, and his fi­nal pass is get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter.”

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