GARY ROBERTS is the man to propel Pompey to promotion.
Michael Doyle has tipped the attacking talent to invigorate the Blues as he makes his injury comeback.
He can make the difference for us, of course he can. He’s proved that before.Michael Doyle
Roberts is pushing for a start against Crawley Town tomorrow, as Paul Cook’s side look to kick-start their bid to make it to League One.
The 31-year-old believes his ankle problems are now behind him after more than two months on the sidelines.
That was a frustrating period for the player who followed Cook to Fratton Park from Chesterfield last summer.
Doyle believes Roberts can take on the expectancy of being the man to fire Pompey out of the division over the second half of the season.
And the skipper has little doubt he’s ready to do that.
‘Gary’s a big player for us,’ said Doyle.
‘He’s had a frustrating start but, like for all of us, it takes time when you come somewhere new with new players and a lot of expectation.
‘There’s a lot of expectation on Gary.
‘The thing for him was sitting out.
‘That’s hard for him because you always want to play. He’s had to sit in the stands and look at games.
‘It’s a massive lift you get from having him back.
‘Fortunately for us we’ve been able to manage without him, but we are certainly going to need him.
‘It’s great to have him back and it will add more competition for places.
‘More importantly, we’ve definitely got one of the best players in the league coming back.
‘That’s great for us.
‘Gary can make the difference for us, of course he can. He’s proved that before.
‘He’ll be ready to go now.’
A four-minute cameo at Leyton Orient marked Roberts’ first action since the 1-1 draw with Stevenage Borough in October.
That was followed by a 26-minute outing in the 0-0 draw against Luton Town on Monday.
Cook has warned Roberts will take time to get up to the levels of sharpness he would expect of himself after time out.
Doyle believes he has already shown signs of the quality he will offer the Blues since his return, however.
And the Irishman highlighted the presence Roberts brings to the dressing room as being another big factor he has to offer his side.
Doyle added: ‘Gary is desperate to get back playing and we are going to need him.
‘It’s just nice to see him come on. You can see his quality already.
‘It’s great to have people like him around the place.
‘That’s not just as a player, but in the dressing room as well because he’s a big character.
‘He’s great with all the younger players and he’s always got a spring in his step.
‘When he trains he’s like a kid. He always wants the ball.
‘He’s great to have back and he will give everyone a lift.’