Leeds United: Improving Kemar Roofe backed by Garry Monk to break goal drought

Kemar Roofe, left, with Garry Monk, right. Picture Bruce Rollinson
Kemar Roofe, left, with Garry Monk, right. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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GARRY Monk believes Kemar Roofe’s first goal for Leeds United is imminent, with the head coach declaring that the £3m purchase from Oxford United is “growing all the time”.

Roofe arrived with a big reputation and a lofty price tag from the Us in the summer having been named the League Two player of the year.

Now upped two tiers in English football, the 23-year-old attacker has yet to score in 22 appearances for Leeds but the summer recruit went agonisingly close to breaking his duck in sensational fashion during Tuesday night’s EFL Cup quarterfinal at Liverpool.

Instead, an audacious curled lob dropped on to the post to leave Roofe still seeking his first goal for his new club.

The forward also looked to have got his Leeds tally up and running in October’s 1-0 Championship success at Wolves in which the attacker appeared to have tapped home a 70th-minute winner, but Roofe later admitted he had not touched the ball and the effort was given as a Silvio own goal.

After again being denied his first goal for Leeds at Anfield, Roofe took to social media on Tuesday evening, declaring “can someone please release me from this goal scoring curse” – adding the hash tag ‘prayforroofe.’

But Monk has been highly impressed with Roofe’s recent displays for Leeds, with the forward proving particularly effective in deputising for the injured Pablo Hernandez in the No 10 role.

Ahead of tonight’s Championship showdown with Aston Villa at Elland Road, Monk is confident that the a first goal will also soon be forthcoming.

“He has played well in the last few games and the only thing missing is a goal,” said Monk of Roofe.

“He probably should have had a few.

“I think he has been a bit unfortunate but he has been performing well and he’s growing all the time.

“He is another young player that has been adapting since he has come into the club but he shows a willingness to adapt and keeps trying to improve – the same as all the others.

“He needs to continue in that vein and keep on moving forward.”

Asked if he felt Roofe’s confidence would be affected by a mini goal drought, Monk insisted: “I don’t think so.

“He’s a confident boy as it stands. But of course you want to score goals and he has scored goals in his career and I am sure the first one is just around the corner. Hopefully, he gets that chance at the weekend to maybe score a goal but the most important bit is that the players are ready and focused.

“We need a very big focus for this game at the weekend.”

Roofe is around 7-1 to score first against Villa – with United’s top scorer Chris Wood the 4-1 favourite.

Wood already has 12 goals for the current campaign.

Marcus Antonsson’s is Leeds’ next top scorer with three, ahead of centre-back Kyle Bartley, Souleymane Doukara and Pablo Hernandez who all have two.

Hernandez remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.