Roberts: Pompey fans seeing me at my best
Gary Roberts is revelling in the best form of his Pompey career.
And he has credited playing in more advanced attacking positions as the reason.
The creative midfielder scored one and laid on two others during the Blues’ 5-1 hammering of Barnet at the weekend.
It takes his season’s tally to six goals as he continues to serve as the inspiration behind Paul Cook’s side.
Pompey head to Blackpool tonight (7.45pm) seeking to build on their second place in the table.
And the in-form Roberts is relishing the opportunity to inflict more damage on League Two opponents.
He said: ‘I haven’t really changed my game. Instead I’m playing higher up the pitch, more like a striker now.
‘I just feel that whatever I do I can get passes off, I can get a goal when I’m on it – and think I’m doing quite well.
‘Being higher up, your next pass is putting someone in on goal.
‘Last season I was a little bit deeper trying to get touches but wasn’t hurting anyone with the final pass.
‘This season I am more advanced, where the manager wants me to be.
‘Staying fit and being on the pitch has also been important.
‘I am a fit lad anyway but being injury-free means I can reach the targets I set myself, such as getting promoted at the end of this season.
‘When you are playing all right you cannot wait for your next game to come.
‘I feel like that at the minute and am enjoying my football more than ever.
‘I’ve enjoyed the last year, to be honest. Just being at Pompey.
‘But when you are contributing you feel a big part of the club going forward.
‘I feel I have a good relationship with the fans now, they are seeing what I can do.’
Roberts scored 10 goals in 38 appearances during his first Fratton Park campaign.
Yet, by his own admission, he failed to hit the heights he was capable of, chiefly through niggling injuries.
An encouraging pre-season, in which he scored four times, suggested the 32-year-old was on the right path.
Sure enough, he has been in sparkling early-season form, scoring in five of the Blues’ last six fixtures. Creatively, against the Bees he had a hand in the goals of Conor Chaplin and Carl Baker, although missed a penalty.
And Roberts believes he is building an understanding with the young striker.
He added: ‘For that first goal, I had the simple task of getting it to Chappers – and he is deadly.
‘You don’t see half the movement he makes. For a young lad, his movement is unbelievable, so clever.
‘Some fans don’t see the movement, they see the finish, but the movement makes the pass easy.
‘As soon as I see a little bit of movement from him I have the simple job of just getting it to him. He’s a good kid to play with.’