Roberts could win first team spot back

JIM Magilton has opened the door for Gary Roberts to win back his regular first team starting sport.

Derek Davis

JIM Magilton has opened the door for Gary Roberts to win back his regular first team starting sport.

Transfer-listed Roberts is enjoying a sparkling pre-season campaign scoring and making goals for fun.

In the three warm-up matches so far Town have netted 12 goals without reply and Roberts has impressed in all, scoring and making two goals in the first half as Ipswich beat Cliftonville 7-0 in Belfast on Monday.

Magilton has an open mind about whether to keep Roberts or move him on.

He said: “Gary has got a chance. He's looked sharp all pre-season - he has come back lean and fit and he has done very well.

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“We're looking for competition for places. He is going to put pressure on whoever he is vying for a place with.

“It's a clean slate for everyone when they come back for pre-season.

“There are always people that emerge and he is definitely emerging as a strong candidate for starting games.”

Roberts is determined to seize his chance.

He said: “That is what I can do. It is what I did when I first got to Ipswich but for some reason I stopped doing it so it is down to me to put that right.”

Although there have been enquiries from a number of clubs, including Crewe and Accrington Stanley over the past few months, Roberts believes he can still convince Magilton he has a Town future.

He said: “It would be great if I can change his mind.

“The manager has given me the opportunity and this summer we all have a level playing field.

“So I have got my head down and if that works then great, if not then I will move on and go to a different club but I'm hoping to change his mind.

“I have a good relationship with the manager. It is not like we have fallen out. I just had a bad season so it is up to me to put it right.

“He bought me - he knows what I can do.

“There have been a few other clubs interested but my preferred choice is to stay and play in Ipswich's first team.”

Roberts admits his slump in form last year culminated in a loss of confidence which he has found hard to build back up.

He said: “I feel fit and a little bit sharper than I have for 18 months now.

“The confidence is coming back but it is hard when you are not playing well and the fans have a bit of a go and you get down.

“You know yourself you are not playing well but in pre-season it all starts off again afresh and hopefully I can show what I can do.”

The 24-year-old has made 59 appearances for Town scoring four goals.

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