Paul Cook pencilling in Gary Roberts’ Pompey return

Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Roberts has scored three goals in 13 appearances for Pompey
  • Was crowned League Two Player of the Year in 2013/14 when Chesterfield took title
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Paul Cook has admitted Pompey fans have yet to see the best of Gary Roberts.

Now the Blues boss is hoping the creative midfielder can be back on duty against AFC Wimbledon.

I know Gary’s quality on the pitch can lead to good things but unfortunately it wasn’t

Paul Cook

Roberts is currently nursing an ankle ligament problem which initially occurred in September.

Despite returning from that injury sustained against Barnet, it clearly impacted on his performances during the six subsequent appearances.

Cook recently opted to take Roberts out of the side, ruling him out of the last two matches.

The former Swindon man, though, is pencilled in for a comeback on Sunday, November 15 in the televised visit of AFC Wimbledon.

And Pompey’s boss is hoping a spell of recuperation can kickstart the highly-regarded 31-year-old.

He said: ‘Gary has a problem with a ligament and a problem with a tendon and had an injection last Thursday to mobilise him for three days.

‘So it has been a really tough injury for Gary.

‘Great credit to him for playing through the problem – but by playing through it he wasn’t training in-between.

‘I know Gary’s quality on the pitch can lead to good things but unfortunately it wasn’t.

‘He is going to be out for another couple of weeks at least.

‘I would look towards AFC Wimbledon at home as being a logical one.

‘I wouldn’t be looking at any time before that.

‘Portsmouth fans haven’t seen the best of Gary Roberts – and that will come.’

It was a crunching tackle by Barnet’s Sam Togwell which inflicted the first serious ankle injury of Roberts’ career.

The midfielder had to be substituted at half-time and it was another three matches before he has ready to return to the starting line-up.

But since then the player so instrumental in the win at Plymouth Argyle and a barnstorming comeback against Morecombe has spluttered in his displays.

Following the 1-1 home draw with Stevenage, it was decided to grant Roberts a leave of absence in order to overcome the problem.

He has subsequently missed the home draw with Mansfield Town, last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Notts County and he will also be missing for Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Macclesfield Town.

But Cook knows once the problem has been resolved the Blues will possess an influential attacking performer.

He added: ‘I have seen Gary from being a young lad at Accrington and then his career progressing to playing for me for two years at Chesterfield and being League Two player of the year two seasons ago to driving us into the play-offs last year.

‘Portsmouth fans haven’t seen any of that, so let’s get him back fit and back on the pitch.

‘He’s a good player and that is what we are trying to do.’