The inside track on Portsmouth new boy Clark Robertson: Championship interest, injuries explained and a top League One defender

Clark Robertson has become Pompey’s second signing of the summer.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 5:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 5:45 pm

The centre-back penned a two-year deal at Fratton Park, having turned down fresh terms at Rotherham.

We get the lowdown from Paul Davis, Millers reporter for the Rotherham Advertiser, on what the Fratton faithful can expect from Robertson.

First of all, what do you make of Clark Robertson signing for Pompey?

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It's an excellent signing. I think Robertson is Championship standard. He's a very assured defender, very comfortable on the ball and rate him as the best left-sided centre-half in League One.

Robertson did an excellent job for Rotherham when he played. The problem was that he was progressively plagued by injuries as time went on.

The sad thing is he'll be remembered by Rotherham for as many games he played as he missed rather than for the really good contributions he played.

His best season was his maiden campaign after arriving from Blackpool. Following recovery from injury, he was in the side from October onwards. Although Rotherham were relegated from the Championship, he really proved himself as Championship quality.

Clark Robertson has signed a two-year deal at Pompey. Picture: Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Robertson was hit by injuries in his second season but still played a decent part to be promoted from League One, while last term was tough for him.

In the past 12 months, he played only a handful of times.

He's a great lad, an excellent player and Pompey have a real player on their hands if he can keep him fit.

Talk us through the injuries he had?

His main problem was he fractured his foot. The medical advice was to let it heal naturally. By doing that, twice the injury recurred and eventually he had to have it pinned.

Had he had it pinned right at the start, in hindsight, it would have a better call and he'd have played a lot more.

Robertson ended last season injured but was offered a new contract, so you'd have expected him to be fit for the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

His fitness record before he came to Rotherham was good, though, and played three full seasons for Blackpool.

It was a lot of bad luck and I'd like to think his problems are behind him and he can prove himself at Pompey.

Paul Warne expected Robertson to stay in the Championship when discussing contracts in March. Are you surprised he's dropped to League One?

I know there was some Championship interest and was expecting it.

But Portsmouth are a League One club and have got to go back up in the near future with that fan base.

Perhaps he's thinking it'll be one season in League One then back in the Championship. It's where he belongs because he's a Championship-class player.

Before his injuries, Robertson had ambitions of breaking into the Scotland squad. Bearing in mind the players they have, I think he's good enough to be in that squad when fit.

How much did Rotherham want to keep him?

Paul Warne wanted him and Rotherham offered deals two-thirds of the way through last season to him, along with the likes of Michael Smith, Matt Crooks and Matt Olosunde.

One bargaining tools was staying in the Championship but there's always less chance of any staying or signing extensions in League One.

Rotherham aren't big payers in the Championship by any means but the money will drop now they're back down.

Players have families to support so I understand why they want to maximise their earnings.

What's Robertson's main attribute and biggest weakness?

He's pretty good at everything. He's a big lad and athletic who has really good balance and carries himself well

On the ball, he is comfortable in possession. Robertson can receive a pass long and short and will deliver the ball as well. He can turn defence into attack quickly and has the eye for a long pass.

Iif he had a bit more aggression - like his partner Richard Wood at Rotherham - then he'd be the perfect centre-half.

That's not to say it's a weakness because he wins his headers but that extra bit of bite I think he would like to bring to his game.

Everything else he has and makes up for it. Any League One club would be stronger for having them in their squad.