Roberts: New-look Pompey have better attacking edge

Pompey playmaker Gary Roberts   Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey playmaker Gary Roberts Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey v Plymouth: pre-match talking points

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Pompey possess a greater attacking threat this season.

That is the verdict of leading-scorer Gary Roberts, after inspiring the Blues to a fourth straight Fratton Park victory.

David Forde always says if you catch the keeper quickly he cannot react, so I toe poked it as fast as I could

Gary Roberts

The Blues demolished Barnet 5-1 on Saturday, despite falling behind to a 27th minute penalty from John Akinde.

Conor Chaplin, Carl Baker, substitute Milan Lalkovic, Danny Rose and, of course, Roberts all netted against Martin Allen’s side.

Paul Cook’s men also ruthlessly took advantage of Bira Dembele’s 64th minute dismissal, although Roberts missed the penalty.

Pompey have now scored 15 goals in five Fratton Park fixtures this season, dropping only two points.

And the six-goal midfielder is convinced the side is armed with a cutting edge to banish the frustrating home draws which dogged them last season.

Roberts said: ‘We have more attacking edge to us this year because we look on the front foot and have better players.

‘No disrespect to those that have left but we have players that score goals at the top end of the field.

‘Baker is always good for a goal, it was good to see Lalkovic get his first, Benno nearly got one at the end, Chappers will always going get one and Rose popped up with another, it’s nice to spread them about.

‘With my goal, David Forde always says if you catch the keeper quickly he cannot react, so I toe poked it as fast as I could.

‘I scored a similar one in training last week, the keeper cannot dive.

‘Last year we struggled a little a bit with teams going home with 0-0 draws and 1-1 draws and it’s not good.

‘We spoke about it in the pre-season and, while teams are going to come and frustrate, we are on the front foot and scoring goals.

‘Look on Saturday, most of them were contenders for best goal of the season.

‘We look a bit devastating at times, I thought we could hurt Barnet at will. Even before they went down to 10-men we looked dangerous on every occasion we went forward.

‘I was disappointed with last week at Accrington, it took us a few days to get over that because the defeat hurt but we all went home happy on Saturday.’

It was an impressive response having slipped to a lacklustre defeat at Stanley the previous weekend.

The in-form Roberts was one of those players unusually off-colour in that 1-0 Crown Ground defeat.

However, he was back to his best against Barnet, with a man of the match showing consisting of a goal and two assists.

And he revealed there were mitigating circumstances behind his own low-key Accrington display.

He added: ‘In the week before that there was a bug in my house, the kids were off school sick and I was as sick as a dog.

‘I missed a few days training and didn’t feel too bad on the Friday – but after 10-15 minutes of the game couldn’t really sprint. I had a load of sick in my mouth and was spewing up at half-time.

‘You know what I am like, I wanted to stay on the pitch and told the manager that, even though I felt terrible.

‘But our display that day wasn’t us.’