No favours for new-boy Gaz

Gary RobertsGary Roberts
Gary Roberts
New-boy Gary Roberts has been told to expect no favours from his old mate Paul Cook as he sets his sights on a Wigan Athletic starting spot.

The 33-year-old Roberts arrived at Wigan last week ahead of the transfer deadline, one of a dozen summer signings made by Cook.

Roberts and Cook have plenty of previous, having won promotion with both Chesterfield and Portsmouth during the last four years, after being team-mates at Accrington a decade earlier.

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But that successful working relationship will not afford Roberts any favours during his new challenge at the DW.

“I can see already there’s a good side here at Wigan,” he told the Wigan Post.

“The gaffer’s told me I’m going to have to work hard to even get on bench because there’s so many good players.

“That’s a change for me, because I’ve normally gone to places where I’ve been one of the bigger signings.

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“Coming here you see the likes of Will Grigg, Nick Powell, Michael Jacobs.,..there’s some terrific talent in the group.

“The hard work starts now to get into the team and hopefully staying there.”

While Grigg – nearing a return to full fitness after a knee injury – will be aiming to put pressure on Ivan Toney for the lone striking role, Roberts is targeting one of the three supporting forward roles, currently occupied by Jacobs, Powell and Gavin Massey.

“I see myself playing anywhere behind the front man,” he acknowledged.

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“But to be honest, I’ll be happy to just be on the pitch, helping the team.

“I haven’t had much of a pre-season, but I’ll have a couple of weeks of really hard work, and hopefully I’ll be up to speed quickly.”

Roberts, who made his debut on Tuesday night in the Lancashire Senior Cup first-round tie against Blackburn, admits the prospect of working with such a talented squad is a mouth-watering one.

“The club sold itself to me, because of the level of ambition here,” he added.

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“I’ve also left a terrific club in Portsmouth, and I’ll never forget the great times I had down there.

“But things change in football, and I’m pleased to join one of the most ambitious sides outside the Championship.

“You don’t want to start shouting from the rooftops but, looking at the way we’ve started, it looks like we’ll be one of the strongest teams in the league this year.

“Hopefully that will be the case, because the gaffer knows the division very well, and the club’s managed to retain some terrific players from last year.”