Roberts: Disappointing to Lose But Good to See Injured Players Return
Wednesday, 14th Aug 2019 12:42
Forward Jordan Roberts was disappointed with last night’s 3-1 Carabao Cup first round defeat at Luton but was pleased to be back in the team and that the likes of Gwion Edwards made their returns after injury.
“It’s always tough losing a game, no one likes to lose,” the 25-year-old said. “But from a personal point of view I was happy to be back out there, fit. I’m sure the other boys are as well.
“From that perspective I’m happy, but every game I go out and the boys go out you want to win, so from that aspect it’s disappointing but we go again on Saturday, there are always games coming around the corner thick and fast.”
Roberts was left out of the starting XI for both League One games, although he came on as a late sub against Sunderland, and a cup run might have been viewed as his opportunity to play games, however, he says he is determined to push himself into the frame for the regular team.
“Cup game or no cup game or in the league, I’m always pushing myself and working hard to try and break into the starting XI on Saturday,” he added.
“I don’t want to look at it in terms of me being there to play in cup games, I want to give the players in the team competition, whether that’s playing down the middle or playing out wide. The competition’s healthy and everyone needs it.”
He added: “I back myself in all aspects, whether that’s playing out wide or down the middle, wherever I’m told to play, I want to take it with both hands.
“In the pre-season games we played I felt fine but I obviously got hindered by a knee injury against Colchester but I’m coming back and I’m ready to play when called upon.”
Is it difficult to be brought back into the starting line-up for just one game? “You’ve got to be ready for it. Any footballer that gets the opportunity to be thrown in, you have to be ready at all times, whether that’s doing your extra work in training to stay fit or whatever.
“But when you’re called upon you must take it and for me to get back out there today it felt nice to get the full 90 minutes and hopefully I can build on that.”
Roberts was pleased with his performance overall: “Yes, it’s always tough coming back into a game, especially like that against a good, strong Luton team. We know what they’re about, I’ve played against them previous times.
“For me to get back out there with the boys, and the other lads coming back from fitness, it’s a good thing but I want to build on that and see what I can do back in the league.”
The Watford-born frontman or winger is still looking for his first competitive goal for the Blues, although he netted at Paderborn in pre-season.
“I think there were chances there today but I work every day, the lads work every day in training and we give our all, so I’m sure that chance will come for me soon and when it does I’ll enjoy it.”
Is it tough playing as a lone striker? “Yes, it’s hard but you have to adapt, players do it all over the leagues, Premier League, Championship, no matter where you play you give your all and when your chance comes you have to try and take it.
“Obviously I had a few chances tonight and didn’t manage to score but when I’m called upon I’ll try and do it again.”
The former Aldershot and Inverness Caledonian Thistle man says believes he could dovetail in a strike partnership with either James Norwood or Kayden Jackson with manager Paul Lambert having started with a front two in both League One games.
“Wherever you play on the pitch you want to bring as much as you can, we work on different formations and different styles of play in the week and there’s a lot of rotation with players, there’s not just a set team that goes out there and plays on Saturday, there’s a lot of rotation,” he continued.
“With numbers coming back, competition’s healthy everyone’s fit and raring to go and everyone wants to push each other on.”
Roberts joined the Blues after leaving Crawley in the summer of 2018 when Paul Hurst was manager and at the time was seen as a winger first and foremost. However, Paul Lambert has used him almost exclusively as a central striker, but he dismissed suggestions that he sees himself as primarily a striker these days.
“I don’t like to say because I could be thrown in in any position,” he considered. “Out wide, I could score a hat-trick out wide, I could score a hat-trick up front, and then everyone would be saying, ‘Are you a wideman again?’
“So for me, any attacking role I’m happy to do. For me, I just have to get my head down, work hard and I need to put in performances, turn heads and show people what I can do.”
He says Edwards making his return after his groin problem and Jon Nolan taking a place on the bench after his calf injury were a boost, while Emyr Huws started his first competitive game since the final day of 2016/17.
“There’s not been too much movement with us in the transfer window, so the boys coming back from injury, fresh faces around is a good thing,” Roberts reflected.
“It’s going to bring positivity to the squad in different positions, so I think when they come back and they’re fully fit it’ll be even better.”
Roberts believes that squad has what it takes to mount a promotion challenge this season.
“Of course, the lads know what’s in store,” he insisted. “Everyone’s fully behind it, everyone’s fully behind the manager, the fans can see it. I think they know what’s going on with the club and where we need to go and everyone’s in good spirits.
“Us as lads, we’ve bought into it, we’re still buying into it and ever day we go out there and train, we work hard and Saturdays we know what we need to achieve, simple as that.
“We’ve set our goals for the season and when we go out there on Saturday we’ll look to take it with both hands.”
Does he feel the Blues are playing more direct football this season? “It’s a mixture of both really, it depends on the team that’s set up in front of us because you’ve got to have a different strategy against different teams that come and play against you, you can’t just keep it with one style of play.
“So, there’s always going to be times when we chop and change it, whether that’s playing a bit more direct or we play our shorter game, which everyone’s capable of doing.”
Roberts also had praise for youngsters Armando Dobra, who made goalscoring debut, and Bailey Clements, who also made his senior bow at Kenilworth Road.
“It’s always nice. I remember the feeling when I made my debut, you remember it for a long time, if not forever,” he recalled.
“The boys at the academy, the U23s have got bright futures and I’m happy for Bailey and Dobs today, good performances, especially him with his goal.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t the result we wanted but from a personal point of view for them, I’m over the moon.”
“He added: “They’re quite young, both of them so the manager’s always on to them how to improve, what they need to do to get better and put themselves in the squad.
“Both of them have got quality and it shows that the gaffer has put his trust in them to play out there today.
“I’m sure they could pick up from that and hopefully take it into the league and if not wherever they might end up.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s League One game at Peterborough, where he was a youth player, Roberts says the Blues need to build on the win at Burton and the draw with Sunderland.
“I see Peterborough have lost both their games and we’ve won one and drawn one,” he said.
“We’ll be going into the game needing to pick up three points after maybe dropping two points on Saturday.
“We’re going there with our tails up with nothing to fear, we don’t fear anyone in the league and we’ll take the game to them.
“We’ll be going with a good fans backing us and that’s always a good thing, especially away from home, they’re probably the extra man we need, so we’ll go there looking to win the game.”
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