THE ‘infectious’ Gary Roberts will become a Pompey fans’ favourite.
That is the prediction of Leam Richardson as the Blues’ prepare to kick-off their pre-season.
I have been lucky to play with him and manage him and can tell you when there is a big game he turns up. He produces time and time againLeam Richardson
Paul Cook’s men are back at Fratton Park tomorrow as the hard work gets under way for the 2015-16 campaign.
Roberts is among four summer recruits following his transfer from Chesterfield last week.
It reunited him with Richardson, a former team-mate and now, for a second time, assistant manager of the club he represents.
And Cook’s right-hand man is adamant the popular midfielder will be taken to the hearts of the Fratton faithful.
‘Gary is a very infectious character, he loves football and has a great knowledge of football so, hopefully, he can be one of those cogs we put into the team that can make us go nicely,’ said Richardson.
‘I have been lucky to play with him and manage him and can tell you when there is a big game he turns up. He produces time and time again.
‘He keeps on wanting to do more and is one of those players that if you give him 5,000 fans he wants 10,000. If there are 10,000 fans he wants 20,000,
‘You can certainly sit down with Gary and have a conversation on players, teams and results. He studies the game and is really conscious about his job, which I like in players.
‘I also know he is very, very good in the dressing room. I don’t think anybody would speak badly about Gary from that environment. I believe he is liked by a lot, if not all, previous players he has played with.
‘Five seconds after he signed here a couple of players we recently recruited started texting him saying they were looking forward to meeting up and playing alongside him.
‘Gary can be a key figure on and off the pitch, definitely.
‘You really would hope he can excite the fans, a player who a large proportion of supporters will grow to like.
‘I think he will become one of the favourites at Fratton Park and hopefully he can produce again.’
Roberts has scored 90 goals in 459 appearances during a career which has taken him to Crewe, Accrington, Ipswich, Huddersfield, Swindon and Chesterfield.
And Richardson has complete faith in his ability.
He added: ‘You don’t like to put too much pressure on an individual, but Gary is 31 now and played at some very, very good clubs.
‘He is an attacking midfielder with great quality, is a great crosser of the ball, assists well, is a clever player, likes retaining possession and has bundles of ability.’
n Portsmouth Supporters’ Trust chairman Ken Malley’s funeral is to take place at Portchester Crematorium on Monday, July 6, at 10am.
Afterwards a wake will take place in Fratton Park’s Victory Bar from 11am.
Malley, aged 70, passed away earlier this month.