Burgess: Robbo still a key player for Pompey

Christian Burgess celebrates with Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler
Christian Burgess celebrates with Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey keeper Luke McGee. Picture: Joe Pepler

Keeper on Pompey’s hunt for a little extra

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Gary Roberts’ continuing importance to Pompey has been highlighted.

Christian Burgess believes the creative talent has showcased his significance to the Blues.

Roberts has come in for some criticism from a minority of fans this season with his form dropping after a powerful opening.

But the 33-year-old responded by coming off the bench and scoring at Hartlepool last weekend.

That was the former Ipswich man’s ninth goal of the campaign – two behind top scorer Kal Naismith.

Burgess spoke of his pleasure at Roberts getting among the goals again.

And the defender believes he remains a key cog Paul Cook’s set-up.

Burgess said: ‘I’m delighted for Gary. He’s had to be content with a place on the bench. He showed fantastic character to come on and make the impact he did at Hartlepool.

‘Gary was first to second balls and winning flicks. That helps out a huge amount. It’s pleasing.

‘He’s a top player. The quality he’s got is second to none. He’s an important part of this team and has been all season.

‘It’s pleasing to say the least to have someone like him coming on. It’s reassuring to the boys.

‘He holds it up like he does and was brilliant at Hartlepool for us.’

Pompey know what the aim is with five games remaining after today’s meeting with Yeovil.

Paul Cook believes the team’s mindset has to be to look forward and not over their shoulders.

But Burgess isn’t overly worried about reeling in second-placed Plymouth.

The 25-year-old feels the aim is to ensure those sides below them can’t overhaul his side.

Speaking before the meeting with Yeovil, Burgess, said: ‘I’m not particularly looking at Plymouth. If you gave us second or third it’s no problem - automatic promotion is what we want.

‘It’s nice, I suppose, to have pulled them back in a bit last weekend. But we’re trying to pull away from the teams below us.’

Pompey were looking for their 20th clean sheet of the season against Yeovil.

That has seen talk begin to stir about setting a new landmark of shutouts for a season. Burgess is just glad it’s contributed to some strong form from Pompey at the right time.

He said: ‘It would be nice to get a clean-sheet record, but it’s not something I’m looking at or particularly aware of. You just want promotion.

‘The recent run has been important because other teams are hitting some good form as well. It’s good to do it at the right time.

‘We just need to carry that momentum forward now.

‘If we can have a strong finish we’ll be happy come the end of the season.

Burgess’ own form has been at a consistently strong level, with a suspension for a red card at Stevenage his only recent blip.

He said: ‘I’ve had to wait a couple of weeks with a suspension, but I was pleased with how I performed at Hartlepool.

‘I’ve been happy enough with my form.’