The sky is the limit and heartbreaking injuries - what's been said about impending Portsmouth arrival Clark Robertson
One of the best ball-playing centre-backs in League One who has suffered heartbreaking injuries.
Robertson's also attracted interest from the likes of League One rivals Ipswich, Scottish Premiership outfit Aberdeen and overseas clubs.
However, Danny Cowley's won the race to add the defender to his ranks after he left Rotherham at the end of the 2020-21 season.
He’s poised to become Pompey’s second summer signing after Liam Vincent.
Since coming south of the border, Robertson has achieved promotion with Blackpool and Rotherham respectively, making more than 200 appearances for the two clubs.
And it's fair to say he made a sound impression at Bloomfield Road and the New York Stadium.
Sky is the limit
Robertson arrived at Blackpool in the summer of 2015, having been released by his boyhood club Aberdeen.
While his maiden campaign ended in League One relegation with the Tangerines, things would then go firmly on the up.
Robertson helped Blackpool seal an immediate return to the third tier via the play-offs in 2016-17, playing 56 times in all competitions.
He then scored three goals in 40 games as the Seasiders finished 12th in the 2017-18 campaign, with his performances earning him the club's player-of-the-season accolade.
And although he'd leave the Fylde outfit that summer, then-boss Gary Bowyer lavished praise on Robertson following his award.
He told the Blackpool Gazette: ‘His performances have been fantastic and I think he’s one of the best ball-playing centre-halves in the league.
‘The sky is the limit for him and he can go as high as he wants to and he’s got to keep making the improvements he’s been showing these last two years.
‘I know he’s got ambitions to try and break into the Scottish squad and you’ve got to applaud those ambitions.
‘He’s set his sights high but he’s got something to work towards, he’s got purpose every day to come in and achieve that.’
Robertson earned a switch to Championship new-boys Rotherham in June 2018.
However, his time in Yorkshire was blighted by injuries.
Across three seasons, he made only 67 appearances, scoring three goals.
Last term, he managed just 16 outings as the Millers suffered Championship relegation.
A recurrence of a fractured foot Robertson sustained in October 2020 came against the backdrop of stomach surgery.
He then suffered a grade two hamstring tear in a 1-0 loss to Reading in February, sidelining him for another month.
Millers boss Paul Warne told of his sympathy for Robertson, who got himself into fine shape before damaging his foot for the second time.
Warne told the Yorkshire Post: ‘It is heartbreaking for him, especially after last year as well. It is a difficult time, but we are here to support him and he knows we are here for him.
‘That is the sad part of professional football when you are out injured and all you want to do play and you can't, it's tough for him.
‘He will get the arm around the shoulder, even if he doesn't want to in these social distancing days.
‘I think this will hit him the hardest because he had a similar sort of situation last year and he was out for a period of time.
‘He got himself in good physical nick and from a psychological point of view, it will hit him harder than the previous injury.
‘It is not a career-threatening injury, but it is a blow and he will get our full support.’
Foresee a Championship future
As when any player's contract is coming towards expiry, managers are usually asked by the press how their future looks.
It was no different at Rotherham, with four players' deals culminating at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
One of those was Robertson, who had yet to enter negotiations with the Millers and would subsequently leave once his contract reached its end.
Speaking towards the end of March, Warne conceded he expected the quartet – Robertson included – to seek moves to remain in the second tier for 2021-22.
He said: ‘All four players are players who are doing well for us, playing and who foresee their careers in the Championship.
‘So we all pretend it's something else, but I believe they want to play in the Championship and earn as much money as they can and play in front of as big a crowds as they can and how can I blame them?’