STEVE McClaren admits he will find it difficult to leave super-sub Patrick Bamford out of Derby County’s starting XI for much longer.
Bamford came off the bench to score an 84th-minute equaliser in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
The 20-year-old striker had been the match winner against Brighton seven days earlier.
Bamford has made a big impact since arriving on loan from Chelsea and McClaren says the player is doing everything right to win a place in the side.
“He’s banging on the door and that’s the response you need from players,” said McClaren.
“It’s going to be difficult to leave him out for much longer.
“We’ve got three games this week and he’ll definitely start one of the next two.
“He wants to play every game but he’s being patient and showing everybody what he can do when he comes on.
“The next step is when he gets in the team.”
Derby face Yeovil at the iPro Stadium tomorrow night and take on Birmingham City at St Andrew’s on Saturday.
McClaren is delighted at how quickly Bamford has settled in and believes the player is a real asset.
“Patrick’s temperament in fantastic – it’s as if he’s been here for years,” said the head coach.
“I think he has shown in the last two games the qualities he’s got. He is a natural goalscorer.
“For his goal at Blackburn, there was no backlift. He just hit it early with pace and power – it was a very good goal.
“We’ve got a real asset on our hands.”
Bamford signed for Chelsea in a £1.5m deal in January 2012 and he scored 17 goals in 30 games during a loan spell at League One club MK Dons in the first half of this season.
He now has two goals in three appearances as a substitute for Derby.
Asked if he felt Bamford could make it at Chelsea, McClaren said: “He has got a long way to go, a lot to learn and a lot to do but he’s a sensible boy, a very intelligent boy, and he’s making the right steps.”
Derby’s league game against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on February 15 will have to be rearranged because Wednesday will be in FA Cup action.
The Owls won their fourth-round tie at Rochdale on Saturday.