Leeds United v Derby County: Whites dealt Kemar Roofe blow ahead of Rams clash
Leeds will defend a 1-0 advantage at Elland Road on Wednesday night following a second-half goal from Roofe which settled the first leg on Saturday.
Roofe converted his 15th goal of the season on 55 minutes to give Leeds the initiative over Frank Lampard’s team and put the club on course to reach the final at Wembley.
United staked their season on the play-offs after failing to hold onto an automatic promotion place which was in their hands with four games to go but they outplayed Derby for the third time this term and are strong favourites to progress to a clash with Aston Villa or West Bromwich Albion.
Villa fought back from a goal down to claim a 2-1 win over West Brom in a lunchtime kick-off on Saturday, placing one foot in the final ahead of tomorrow’s second leg at The Hawthorns.
Last week, however, was dominated by dramatic Champions League wins for Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, both of whom recovered from seemingly hopeless positions to edge their respective semi-finals.
Asked if he believed Leeds would progress beyond Derby, Roofe said: “I'll answer that after the second leg but of course we’re confident.
“As long as we do what we do best and prepare correctly and put 100 per cent in then we’ve got a good chance.
“This week was a massive sign. So many top quality teams around the world have won games in the first leg and come away losing in the second leg so we can't make that mistake. We need to prepare properly and be ready.”
Villa hold the edge in the other semi-final having seen West Brom top scorer Dwight Gayle sent off for a second bookable offence shortly before full-time at Villa Park.
The play-offs brought together four of the biggest clubs in the Championship, raising the stakes for all of them, but Roofe said Leeds had moved on quickly from the frustration of dropping out of the top two.
“Obviously we’re disappointed we didn't make automatic but we’ve dusted ourselves down,” the striker said.
“We can't feel sorry for ourselves and we’re in the play-offs which is still a massive achievement.
"That was our aim at the start of the season and we’ve made it. Hopefully we can win on Wednesday."