Leeds’ Oxford Graduate Roofe Can Take Cup Honours at Cambridge   –   by Rob Atkinson


The trouble with FA Cup ties, for clubs challenging for league honours in particular, is that the kind of side which will take the field for the knockout game is a matter of some uncertainty. It’s the kind of match a wise manager will use to “give game time to fringe players” or “fully utilise the squad”. In other words, don’t be surprised if the eleven on duty for the Cup is significantly weaker than the team to contest that vital promotion six-pointer.

All of which means that it’s difficult to predict Garry Monk‘s intentions for Leeds United‘s 3rd Round FA Cup clash away at Cambridge United. We might speculate that Rob Green will get the evening off, and doubtless there will be other changes from league normality. But one player most Leeds fans would love to see involved, with the aim of continuing his Elland Road settling-in process, is summer signing from Oxford United, Kemar Roofe.

Roofe shone at Oxford last season in the less demanding surroundings of League Two, scoring for fun and generally tearing the division apart. He finished as League Two Player of the Year. At Leeds, in the hurly-burly of the Championship, Kemar didn’t find his feet straight away – but just lately, he’s shown what a class act he undoubtedly is, with more than a few signs of the kind of explosive talent that made him such a hot property last year.

Against lower league opposition in the Cup, a side in Cambridge who will surely be up for it, and who are in rather good form themselves, it would be a golden chance for Roofe to persecute the kind of defence he was making hay against last term. As a confidence booster – and assuming all goes to plan – this sort of tie could be ideal. It might also be a chance to have a longer look at how Roofe could combine with the likes of Marcus Antonsson, a £2m striker who has been so peripheral to Leeds’ recent success story. That kind of Plan B assessment is vital, when the main men could be struck down by injury at any time.

This season more than most, the FA Cup will be running a poor second to the league in United’s priority list. Promotion has to be the aim that eclipses all others, and the sparkling Whites form has put them into a position where they’re ideally placed to challenge, not just for a play-off spot, but even (whisper it) for automatic promotion. This being the case, it will almost certainly be the task of the less regular league performers to dispose of Cambridge. Nevertheless, out of respect for worthy opponents if for no other reason, there will have to be a sprinkling at least of first teamers. The case for making Roofe one of these is strong; he’s young, fit and just beginning to look like a real prospect. If he can help put Cambridge to the sword, then that would be a significant step on the way to being a big hit in what could be a very big season for Leeds.

There’s still a magic to the Cup, despite the shoddy way it tends to get treated by certain clubs these days. It’s up to Leeds to make use of their resources in such a way that progress in the competition can be secured by beating a very competitive Cambridge side. The United squad has shown already that it can cope with knockout football, even succeeding in a couple of penalty shootouts. The foundations are in place for another cup run if we show we want it badly enough; those foundations just need to be topped off by defensive walls, windows of attacking opportunity which could open the door to the 4th round, and – last, but not least – that all-important Roofe.

11 responses to “Leeds’ Oxford Graduate Roofe Can Take Cup Honours at Cambridge   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. bobs spotty bum

    I have still to recover from our day trip to colchester


  2. Some changes to give bench men a run out and get competitive game time with emergency big hitters on the bench.
    A couple of weeks ago I wasn’t troubled at the thought of going out but since then I think a bit of a cup run is a good distraction for players and supporters and if we win on Saturday you never know who might be at ER in the next round. We have a habit of picking some top Premier clubs in this competition.
    Meanwhile 5200 tickets for the live Barnsley game at 30 odd quid each sold out in 35 minutes – quite unbelievable! A new owner with money and Sports Media experience and a live transfer window with no exits and sitting pretty in the top six with half a season to go – We are all pinching ourselves I am sure.
    On that point there has been only one occasion when 93 points were required for automatic and two or three more with 92 since the Championship started. If we can keep up the form of recent weeks we will blow that apart. The position at the end of March will be critical.


  3. Bring it on, Ouche is going to love this


  4. Roofe is one of those players that if he gets it right and turns into the player we all know he is asap then we are going up..
    a bold statement ? no , i firmly believe if we can get a number 10 chipping in with 10 – 12 goals this season then we will go up…
    come on Kemar , set the Elland Rd Roofe on fire…


  5. Roofe’s gradual improvement over the season gives Monk a selection headache. Now Hernandez has returned, the only position open to Roofe is on the right. But this means benching Sacko. Who does he start with ? Against Cambridge I think he wil start with both of them, playing Sacko on the right, and Roofe in the middle. If Sacko has a very good game, he’ll be hard to displace against Derby. Which means Roofe starts on the bench. which would be tough on him. Or will Monk reward him for his excellent cross that gifted Wood his second goal ?


  6. David Smith

    Would possibly rest Jansson as I believe he is one booking away from a ban and would prefer to have him available for the Derby game.


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