Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa has confirmed the club will be without top scorer Kemar Roofe for Wednesday’s play-off semi-final second leg against Derby at Elland Road.
The forward, back to his best in scoring the winner at Pride Park on Saturday to give United a slender 1-0 advantage, will miss out on the return at Elland Road due to a calf injury.
Joining Roofe on the sidelines is midfielder Adam Forshaw – withdrawn during the first half against the Rams – while defender Pontus Jansson remains doubtful and will train on Tuesday to try and return to fitness.
Bielsa also confirmed that Tyler Roberts is out of the second leg. Gjanni Alioski is getting closer after knee surgery but will again miss out and also looks doubtful, along with Forshaw, for the play-off final, were Leeds to get there.
And Bielsa is backing the much-criticised forward to step up for Leeds.
“It’s always important to have players at your disposal who’ve played during the season,” Bielsa said. “We always think of our squad as having 18 starters. It’s the reality demanded by the competition.”
Assessing Leeds’ fine performance on Saturday, Bielsa rated it as one of their best of the season.
“It was a mix of everything – the performance of the team was very good, it’s one of our best of the season,” he added, before warning: “The difference is only one goal and the idea is to increase this difference and stop the opponent reducing it. We know this is a difficult task.”
Bielsa, however, hopes the electric atmosphere at Elland Road will inspire, rather than go against his players.
“Emotion is an ingredient which allows you to use your skills better,” he added. “It’s something natural and we want to play the game in these conditions. We know there’s still a long path to reach our goal.”
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