Roberts: I must reduce work-rate and up Pompey creativity

Gary Roberts is focused on reducing his workload in a bid to reinvigorate his Pompey creativity.

Friday, 18th November 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 18th November 2016, 1:03 pm
Pompey midfielder Gary Roberts Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues’ leading scorer believes his game has suffered in recent weeks.

He is convinced his desire to work hard for the Pompey cause has dragged him away from areas of the pitch where he can hurt opposition.

It’s a theory Paul Cook recently raised with this season’s chief assist-maker – and Roberts agrees.

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Tomorrow, Cook’s men head to Cheltenham striving for a third successive League Two victory.

And the cultured midfielder wants to remove the shackles and increase his attacking effectiveness.

Roberts said: ‘I know people say you have to work hard, but I feel I’m working hard in the wrong places.

‘I haven’t found myself in good positions in the last two or three games and need to get into little pockets where I can slide Conor through on goal.

‘I find myself out wide and not really having a relationship with him too well.

‘I need to get on the ball more, I don’t feel I’m influencing the game as much as I did earlier in the season.

‘And I feel it has reduced my creativity.

‘You want to work hard for the team, but at the end of the day I am there to create goals, so it’s back to basics for me.

‘I want to create chances for Conor and will still be working as hard as I can – but in the right areas.

‘I feel I am drifting into the wrong areas, chasing people I shouldn’t really chase, it takes you away from where you want to be on the pitch.

‘The gaffer has spoken to me about it, he doesn’t really want me as a hard-working forward, he wants me to create chances and score goals.

‘Coming off at the end of a game I’ll think I’ve worked hard, yet haven’t scored and haven’t assisted and that’s my job. That’s what I’m paid for, that’s what people come to see.

‘I think I am working harder than the start of the season, but not playing as well.

‘I am contributing to winning teams, but on a personal level am not scoring as many goals as I should be.

‘I want to be well ahead on goals, while with assists I should have more than anyone. That is what I feel, those are my targets – I want to be the best in everything.’

Roberts has netted seven times this season, with four arriving from the penalty spot.

The midfielder was desperately disappointed not to register a second against Mansfield last weekend when he missed in front of the Fratton End from six yards out.

He added: ‘That sums it up really, chances like that should be bread and butter.

‘They are tap-ins, you pray for chances like that, and I’ve not had one for a while.

‘I snatched at it and it was terrible from me. I have beaten myself up all week about it, it kills you.

‘Hopefully, I’ll put one away tomorrow at Cheltenham in another Pompey win.’