Date:Friday September 29 2006
Having been unable to play a part in Blackburn Rovers' UEFA Cup first round second leg tie Jason Roberts' team mates answered his calls for them to keep his European dreams alive.
Roberts' groin injury has seen him so far unable to fulfil his dream of playing in Europe, and prior to the second legs victory earning Rovers passage into the group stages thus keeping his chance to prove himself on the European stage alive he would say:
"My career has gone in stages and I've worked my way up from the Conference.
"I've had to work for everything I've ever got in football, and one of my main aims was to play European football.
"Obviously, coming to Blackburn gave me that chance and that was a big pull for me, so it's been disappointing not to be involved up to now.
"But I'm sure the boys will get a good result, and I'll then be available for further rounds."
And they did!
Having started his career in non-league football with Hayes (the team for whom his Uncle, the legendary Cyrille Regis could also start out his footballing career with) before working his way through the Divisions with Torquay United, Bristol City, Bristol Rovers and before finally getting his chance in the Premiership with West Bromwich Albion in the 2002-2003 season.
That season would not be his happiest and a loan to Portsmouth the following season would prove little more productive. He would drop down a Division to secure a move to Wigan Athletic, before returning with them to the top flight in the 2005-2006 season.
A hugely successful season would bring him to the attention of Mark Hughes and he signed him in the summer for £2.5 million, thus giving 28-year-old Roberts the chance he'd been craving for all these years, a chance at European football, which could have been taken away from him following his recent injury but for his team mates.
The groin injury, later revealed as a grade 2 tear, was sustained in training with the final kick of the session prior to the Sheffield United Premiership game earlier in the month, the match before the first leg tie would be known almost immediately to Roberts that it would be serious:
"I did it striking the ball in the last kick of training and I immediately felt a ping as if something had gone.
"I knew straight away it was quite serious. At the time, if you'd told me I was going to be out for two or three months then I wouldn't have disagreed with you. It felt that bad."
Now back in training, and not several months down the line as he first feared, Roberts should be back in first team action soon, and will be sure to play a major role in the remainder of Rovers' UEFA Cup campaign, which all being well will be very long lived.
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Date:Friday September 29 2006
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