'Kemar Roofe will be at his peak in the play-offs'. Marcelo Bielsa backs Leeds United striker to hit form in Derby County battle

Marcelo Bielsa backed Kemar Roofe to hit his peak in the Championship play-offs after the striker’s missed penalty at Portman Road.

By Phil Hay
Monday, 6th May 2019, 2:58 pm
Updated Monday, 6th May 2019, 3:01 pm
Kemar Roofe strikes the bar in the second half of Leeds United's 3-2 defeat to Ipswich Town.
Kemar Roofe strikes the bar in the second half of Leeds United's 3-2 defeat to Ipswich Town.

Roofe passed up an opportunity to register only his second goal of the calendar year after a slip sent his spot-kick over the crossbar towards the end of Leeds United’s defeat to Ipswich Town.

The forward had the chance to put Leeds 3-2 in front late on after a foul on him by Ipswich captain Luke Chambers but lost his footing as he ran to strike the ball and drove it into the crowd.

Bielsa has had limited use of Roofe in the second half of the season due to a knee injury suffered in February but he is set to lead the line in Saturday’s play-off semi-final first leg against Derby County with Patrick Bamford out through suspension.

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Roofe continues to rank as Leeds’ top scorer with 14 goals but has scored just once, in a 2-0 win over Derby in January, since his dramatic brace against Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day.

Prior to his penalty at Ipswich, he was denied by the bar but saw Stuart Dallas follow up to convert the rebound and bring Leeds level at 2-2.

His start at Ipswich was his first in almost three months and Bielsa said: "He had some moments that could have broken the balance and we can see he's been absent for many games.

“But he was always looking to the goal, he won duels with the centre-backs and my point of view is that he will arrive at Saturday's game close to his highest level. It was a necessary game for him.”

Bamford is one game into a two-match suspension imposed by the Football Association after he was charged with simulation during Leeds’ 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

Bielsa is short of forwards having lost Tyler Roberts to an ankle problem last week but Roberts is hopeful of being fit for the play-offs.