Date:Friday February 9 2007
Recent reports have suggested that Blackburn Rovers striker Jason Roberts is a target for Stoke City boss Tony Pulis following his recent comeback from injury. He would be a great capture for them but I find myself wondering why Mark Hughes would want to loan him out with the current workload at hand.
We have twelve Premiership games remaining and the FA Cup and UEFA Cup for as long as we manage to stay in the competitions (which will hopefully be right to the very end!) With Matt Derbyshire out injured, despite having Paul Gallagher, Shabani Nonda, Francis Jeffers and of course Benni McCarthy I still thought that Roberts would have been a key player in Hughes' plans for the busy schedule that lay before us.
During the months that led up to the transfer window Hughes had repeatedly emphasised the importance of Roberts, Ryan Nelsen and Steven Reid returning to action as their return alone would be like three new signings and they are senior players that we have very much missed and those that he wanted to build the team around. So why would Hughes want to loan out a 'new signing?' As we know already Reid continues to be out for the rest of the season following his fresh injury setback and the Admiral has returned to resume his duties as captain and is settling back in the fold nicely.
Before Roberts got injured he had started working his way into the team following his summer arrival from Wigan Athletic, looking quite sharp and what we needed up front with the likes of McCarthy testing the oppositions defence and I looked forward to seeing more of him. As he is now back, why would Hughes want to send him out on loan?
Could it be that he is happy with the shape of the current squad that we have and he feels that Roberts will not be needed at the moment and he could therefore send him out with a recall clause should he be needed? Not likely, we need all the players we have and quality the likes of Roberts at that. Perhaps it could be that other than the short term lay-off to Derbyshire Hughes feels that we have sufficient cover for now to send Roberts out on a short-term loan to build up his match fitness and have him playing ready for when we will need him? More realistic but again not very likely.
Most likely it is merely a case of Stoke targeting Roberts as an option as Pulis wants to bring in a Premiership striker to partner Ricardo Fuller and help fire them to Premiership promotion and the powerhouse happens to fit the mould as in the past he has had a great Championship strike rate and Pulis likes him and that's as far as it goes with nothing more to it as yet.
I would be amazed if Hughes allowed a player of Roberts' quality and experience go at a time when he is arguably needed more than ever. Chances are the most likely scenario is this is just speculation with no basis to it...
I've just noticed that BomBom has started a thread on this topic also in the forum so this is worth visiting Click Here
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Date:Friday February 9 2007
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