Roberts: Pompey have handled heat - can title chasers?

Noel Hunt. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey say no deal as striker moves on

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GARY ROBERTS spoke of the pride at his side delivering promotion in the Pompey goldfish bowl.

Now the attacking midfielder wants to see Paul Cook’s men ask questions of the championship credentials of the teams above them.

The Blues go to play-off-chasing Mansfield tomorrow looking to continue their flying form and end the campaign on a high.

And there are still hopes of being able to overhaul Plymouth and Doncaster, who sit above them in the League Two table.

The feel-good factor is palpable around the city after Pompey sealed their promotion on Easter Monday.

Roberts admitted there is real satisfaction at that after a testing campaign.

Despite his experience, the 33-year-old admitted none of his four career promotions have proved as challenging – or rewarding.

He said: ‘When I’ve had dips and bits of injuries, I’ve never found it as hard as playing for this club really.

‘I live in the area, I read the paper every day and you hear everything. You never get away from it.

‘But, listen, I came here to be part of a job. You don’t sign one player to get up. I’m part of a cog of a team unit.

‘I’ve got 10 goals this season and a similar amount of assists. That’s the same as last year.

‘I don’t think I’ve scored a goal where it hasn’t meant something. I’ve never scored a consolation goal for Portsmouth.

‘I started the season on fire but petered out a little bit.

‘When you look at your stats, though, you always aim to get 10 goals and 10 assists. I’m pleased to have achieved that in the hole.

‘I haven’t blown myself out of the water in terms of my expectation levels.

‘But if you can get around 10 goals from each of your attacking players you’ll end up in the right area. It’s pleasing that’s where we’ve ended up.

‘It means a lot for the lads to put smiles on the faces of the fans.’

A win for Doncaster at home to Exeter would see them clear of Pompey before the final day. Roberts knows a run to the title is improbable – but wants to see his team ask questions of the leaders.

He added: ‘If there’s any sort of sniff of the league we’ll fight until the last second to get it. Stranger things have happened.

‘I personally can’t see Doncaster slipping up. Not twice. But they’re live games for them. They’re not dead games against sides who will roll over.

‘If we can capitalise on anything – we’ll be there. We will. A couple of months back we were 12 points behind Doncaster. Now it’s four.

‘If we can take it to the last day and have half a sniff, that’s a pat on the back for the lads.

‘If you look at the pressure games we don’t really buckle.

‘We’ll be alright, so it’d be nice to put a bit of pressure on them.’

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