Roberts Out to Grab Opportunity With Both Hands
Tuesday, 16th Jul 2019 06:00
Forward Jordan Roberts says he’s working hard in pre-season to ensure he can take his opportunity if and when it comes once the Blues' League One campaign gets under way.
Roberts, 25, was signed on a free transfer by former manager Paul Hurst after leaving Crawley last summer but found his opportunities limited during the ex-Shrewsbury boss’s short time in charge.
Paul Lambert used him as his number nine during the opening couple of months of his spell with the Blues but after Will Keane and Collin Quaner were signed on loan in January, Roberts was sent out on loan to Lincoln in League Two.
In total, the Watford-born wideman or striker has made six starts and six sub appearances for the Blues, while he made only five appearances from the bench as the Imps secured promotion to League One by topping League Two.
He returned to Playford Road at the start of pre-season and says he's working hard ahead of the campaign proper.
“For me, [the aim is] to try and contribute as much as possible, whether that’s assists or goals and leave all I can on the pitch, and it’s down to working hard in training in the week. I want to get my opportunity out there,” he said.
“Whether it’s coming on as a substitute or starting a game I want to try and grab it with both hands.”
Roberts is pleased to be back with the Blues after his six-month stint with Lincoln: “Coming back here, it’s always a good thing being back round the boys again.
“I need to play my part in the team as much as everyone else. I’m willing to do that and give my all for the club, so when I get my opportunity I’m going to try and take it.
“Obviously the feeling last year with Lincoln getting promotion is something that every player should aspire to have and want, and I want that again this year and I’m going to give it my all to try and get that.”
Roberts played at centre-forward at Paderborn, where he closed down the keeper to grab Town’s first goal, then started wide on the left in the 45-minute Interwetten Cup game against SV Meppen. He says he has no preference where he plays so long as he is involved.
“I’ve had this question a few times,” he said. “Anywhere in an attacking role, to be fair, because I think the manager gives us a lot of flexibility down the middle and out wide, whether that’s switching over or playing down the middle, so there’s always a time in the game when you find yourself down the middle or out wide right or out wide left.
“So for me, anywhere up there I don’t mind as long as I can contribute as much as possible and play as many games and get as many games under my belt.”
Reflecting on the German training camp which the squad flew back from yesterday, he added: “It’s been good, the boys have been together pretty much for the whole of the 10 days, it’s been good to be together.
“There’s been new faces in the building, so everyone’s gelling together and I think it was a perfect time for everyone to come away and get their heads down.
“But we’ll go back to Ipswich now, get our heads down again and play the remainder of the pre-season.”
As well as the work on the training field there was a social side to the trip as manager Lambert sought to forge bonds within the squad.
“I think there’s always got to be a balance between the work you do on the training pitch and on the pitch and then the time you have outside of football, which we did with paintball, some of the boys did a few other activities like bike rides, which was good to take your mind off things,” Roberts continued.
“But when all the boys go out there on the training pitch everyone gives their all, and that’s the time to do it, in pre-season when everyone wants to get fit.”
Roberts says the squad have met and talked about last season’s disastrous relegation campaign, which they hope to put firmly behind them as they look to bounce back into the Championship at the first attempt.
“I’d say the lads have come back feeling fresh,” Roberts reflected. “It’s never nice getting relegated from a league but we’ve had meetings, we’ve spoken with the captain and people at the club and for us now it’s to go out there take the shackles off and just go for it because at the end of the day we’ve got to get ourselves back into the league where we deserve to be. It’s down to us and what we need to do and we’ve got to take full responsibility for that.”
Pre-season this year has involved a lot less running and a lot more ballwork than it did last summer.
“I think it’s been tailored very well for specific players,” Roberts said. “There are players who have played a lot of games over the last year and then there are players who have just come back from injuries.
“The staff and the physios have worked well with the injured lads and the lads that have played a lot of games and it’s been tailored to everyone’s ability and what they need to do specifically. It’s been good.”
Like other members of the squad, Roberts is in no doubt about the aim once the season gets under way, a swift return to the Championship.
“There’s nothing else that crosses the boys’ mind apart from that we need to get promoted,” he insisted. “That’s it - get the club back where it needs to be.
“The fans know that, we know that, everyone at the training ground and at the stadium know that, so it’s down to us.
“We’re in a good place now, the gaffer’s mentioned it a few times that everyone’s got to come together and they have to come together. It’s for us now to go out there and show how much we want it and take out there for the first game of the season.”
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