Teenage Kicks: Jackett can bring best out of unfairly-criticised attacker

Gary Roberts and Kyle Benntt. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts and Kyle Benntt. Picture: Joe Pepler
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We’ve got Gary Roberts and he’s no longer Paul Cook’s man.

Two summers ago it was inevitable Cook would bring the attacker to Pompey with him from Chesterfield.

At that time, Roberts was the main man – the marquee signing, the talisman.

He was expected to be the chief protagonist in Pompey’s promotion pursuit in the 2015-16 season.

However, two years on, despite an impressive record – and helping the Blues on the way to the third tier – it is clear there is now a degree of volatility aimed towards the 33-year-old.

For someone on the outside looking in, it may be impossible to fathom the criticisms of some Pompey fans towards the former Huddersfield Town man.

Roberts has scored 20 goals for the Blues and produced a wave of assists.

And, of course, he supplied two turning points last season – scoring the opener at Carlisle and the vital equaliser against Plymouth.

Technically, Roberts has done what he was brought in to do.

Yet, he is disliked by some – and I don’t get why.

Perhaps his intrinsic link with Cook made him an easy target or the League Two style of football hampered his ability to influence a game throughout.

Maybe his injuries offered frustrating spells of a lack of match fitness.

It’s time to get off Roberts’ back now Cook has left.

The ex-Swindon Town attacker is proven in League One and Kenny Jackett’s arrival may give him a new lease of life.

Consider Roberts an asset worth keeping rather than someone best placed on the next bus to the DW Stadium.