Pompey star handed Christmas break

Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Gary Roberts has been handed a Christmas break to recharge his batteries.

Paul Cook has given Pompey’s creative talent a rest to help him rediscover his best form.

Roberts will miss tomorrow’s trip to Yeovil after being left out of the squad for the Boxing Day visit to Newport County.

The 32-year-old has been short of his best after an impressive start to the campaign.

And Cook feels now is the right time to take him out of the firing line.

He said: ‘Gary’s going to have a break for a couple of games. He won’t be involved at Yeovil.

‘I told him to go away with his family and have a couple of days’ rest.

‘We want him to come back in and have that reception from the fans good players deserve.

‘We want that because we’re going to need him.

‘He needs taking out of the firing line to freshen up.

‘We want him to come back and give us all the lift he’s capable of producing.

‘Our fans need to realise this man lives for this club.

‘He gives absolutely everything for the cause. He loves this club and feels it.’

Roberts had started every league game before Monday’s win at Rodney Parade.

Cook dismissed talk the former Ipswich man had been dropped, with the plan to bring him back into the equation at Doncaster next week.

He said: ‘The sort of pitch Newport County had would never have suited him.

‘If we’d beat Hartlepool we’d have still given him the break because that was the plan.

‘The fans end up thinking he’s been dropped. There’s no dropping Gary Roberts. There’s no dropping someone like him. Come on. Be better than that.’