Roberts ready for a rough ride

IWAN Roberts is expecting exactly the same sort of treatment that was meted out to former team-mate Craig Bellamy when he makes his Gillingham debut at Ipswich Town today, writes Derek Davis.

IWAN Roberts is expecting exactly the same sort of treatment that was meted out to former team-mate Craig Bellamy when he makes his Gillingham debut at Ipswich Town today, writes Derek Davis.

The former Canary knows there is only one sort of reaction ex-Norwich City players will get at Portman Road, and is prepared for the onslaught.

Bellamy was booed throughout the Newcastle game even though it was Dale Roberts' testimonial and while Sir Bobby Robson didn't like it, the player himself was not bothered and expected nothing less.

But Roberts could get some added backing as it is understood a large number of City fans have bought tickets for the Championship opener and will be in the home and away areas of the ground.


You may also want to watch:


They will swell a Gills following of around 1,000 as their side don't start the Premiership season until the following Saturday.

Roberts was at Portman Road on Monday in his role as player/coach to see Ipswich's win, but poor performance against Osasuna, and returns for his Gills debut.

Most Read

The 36-year-old said: "I'm looking forward to it. What a great game to kick off my Gillingham career. It's a massive game.

"I'll get absolutely hammered. I couldn't believe it when I got the fixtures. That was the turning point. I thought I've got to sign now to play against them."

But while it will be a personal battle between him and the Town fans, Roberts is determined to put his past behind him and make a go of his first partial step into management, while seeking to add to his career goals tally.

He said: "It'll be a big occasion for myself because of the rivalry between Norwich and Ipswich but I'm a Gillingham player now. Norwich is in the past and I want to concentrate on doing my utmost for Gillingham now."

Roberts has always done well against Town, scoring both goals in the 2-0 win at Portman Road in March, 2000, and he was part of the side which doubled Ipswich last season, while the Gills have beaten Town at Portman Road in their past two visits and last season snatched a late 4-3 victory.

If, as expected, Gillingham go with three up front, the veteran Welshman will have the speedy Patrick Agyemang and new purchase from Sunderland Darren Byfield either side of him.

Wimbledon's Agyemang tortured Town last season with his pace and directness while Byfield is hungry to prove a few things.

Darius Henderson misses out as his wife is expecting a baby but otherwise the Gills will be at full strength.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus