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Roberts a Key Factor in UEFA Push

Having endured a season of injury frustration and a fight to dislodge Matt Derbyshire, Blackburn Rovers striker Jason Roberts is finding form when it really matters, and Mark Hughes feels this could see him become a key player in our push to qualify for next seasons UEFA Cup.

Roberts earned a recall to the starting line-up against Chelsea in the FA Cup Semi Final (which I have to admit did surprise me) and put in a fine performance as well as scoring his first Rovers goal. He followed this up with another goal against Watford in midweek and yet another fine performance.

Hughes is now looking to Roberts to prove the difference in our European push, he said:

"Jason has looked stronger and more on top of his game every day in training.

"He is beginning to look like the player I was so keen to bring to the club.

"Jason is a big guy and it took him a bit longer than other players to get fit.

"It has been a long road back for him. When he was available he found the way blocked by the emergence of Matt Derbyshire."

On Roberts' performance against Watford on Wednesday evening Hughes added:

"Jason was unplayable for long spells against Watford.

"He was big, strong and powerful. He always carried a threat.

"Watford's defence could not cope with him. It is just a pity we have missed him for so much of the season."

Couldn't agree more with Hughes, Roberts is a quality, quality footballer, and the idea foil for either Benni McCarthy or Matt Derbyshire.

I've NEVER doubted him and had been surprised when some had, especially when you think he's missed about half a season. If he had been playing you could understand but he hasn't. In fairness even when he had I thought he played OK. Maybe he looked a little rusty when he returned from injury but as Hughes says he's a big guy so it took him a little longer to get fit.


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The Journalist

Writer: Walker Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday April 20 2007

Time: 12:59AM

Your Comments

The Roberts - McCarthy partnership looks as though it could really come off. It showed early signs of promise before JR's injuries but the last couple of games has really seen it bare fruition and Roberts look every inch the player I KNEW he was when we signed him.
Hughes Da Man
It looked great in the first home match v Everton. Roberts always plays well with a smaller technique based guy next to him as we saw with Camara last season at Wigan. The future does look very bright... If we can make a good start next year then who knows???
MikeyGamst
That's the thing isn't it, we have to learn that the season begins in August, not late September or October! If we do like you say Mikey who knows?!?! IF (that big if!) JR had been fit all season this season again who knows?!?!
Hughes Da Man
Being a humble man, i will come out and say it, i was wrong. As you all know, i have been one of the biggest critics of JR all season. I still believe i was right to criticise this player due to his lack of performance in the past. Whilst this might be due to injury, we did spend a lot of money and it seemed it was a waste. In the last 2 games, Roberts has shown his worth to me. Whilst im not completely saying he is worth the price tag, as time will tell, hopefully at the end of the season he can rack up a few more goals in our push for europe
sasman
HDM, I remeber us chatting about JR earlier in the season and we both agreed that Jase the ace would be Beni's better partner. I still think it is too early for Derbyshire to be a regular this season. I was over the moon for Roberts when he scored on Sunday - I think he is quality. I know we have an outside chance of europe next season, but roll on next year when everyone is fit - I may be biased but I think we are the best team outside of the big four, along with Spurs.
Wellsy
It may seem a lot sasman but this is only because we got Benni so cheap, how the HELL we got him for 2.5 million I still don't know! For the rest of this, and next season you'll see something special.
Hughes Da Man
if we get our players back for a long run, cos lets face it everyone gets injuries, and sort out our away form I would say that Wellsy ur rite, in terms of consistantly being in or around the top 6- 8 in the league its us and Spurs and prob the dreaded Bolton as well. But with Roberts and McCarthy fit next season we will have a strike force that all the teams in the league will fear, add this to the ( hopefully ) beefed up central midfield, two of the best wingers in Europe let alone England, a very compact, competent back 4 and Brad in nets we have a very good team capable of playing top quality footabll and beating anyone on our day, not that im biased in anyway lol
Clint
I remember Wellsy, we both MORE than agreed that JR was the man. As much as I rated Derbs then, and as much as I liked him (and still do now on both counts) I was happy to say that I though JR was the perfect partner for Benni so would pick him over Derbs. JR could, and will play alongside Derbs also next season and the pair will do well. Pound for pound, when all are fit, add a few more players and we are as good, if not better than EVERYONE else (outside the top four as you say Wellsy) in this League, not a million miles away from the top four though.
Hughes Da Man
Outside of the top two, and arguably top four if honest there isn't much between half a dozen or so clubs is there really. Rovers along with Everton, Bolton, Portsmouth, Tottenham, Reading, Aston Villa & maybe Newcastle (if they change the manager!) will ALL be pushing hard for places behind the top four next season. I WOULDN'T be surprised though if one of these sides did go and break the strangle hold the top four have on this League though, tough as it will be.
Hughes Da Man
Lets start strong next season.... the last 2 seasons we could of finished higher if we has started stronger... we have been near the relegation zone right up until October/November....
MikeyGamst
Just another thing Clint, you say we need to sort out our away form, which we do but we HAVE to look at our home form also. We've basically won or lost at home which isn't good enough, only just won more than we've lost at home which for a team heading where we look to be isn't good enough. We SHOULDN'T be losing anymore than four games MAXIMUM at home per season. These four defeats SHOULDN'T be coming against any other teams apart from the big four in my opinion, these are the only teams that should be able to come away from Ewood Park with all three points, even then it's not to say they will!!! We proved against Liverpool we can beat them at home. But a home point apiece against Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool & Manure wouldn't be bad, but looking back at only four home defeats in a season, coming against these wouldn't look bad either. This is what we need to aim for (I know "aiming" for four defeats max isn't good but is acceptable.)
Hughes Da Man
Start strong and finish strong and the World's our lobster :)
Hughes Da Man
Well if I remember rightly the Home form apart from this season has been very good, I may be wrong there but im sure it usually one of the best outside the top 4, its the away record that lets us down a bag full every season
Clint
I'm certain you are right Clint but as I say we have to be aiming at no more than four home defeats and HAVE to stop dropping points (espeically through defeats!) against those that SHOULDN'T leave Ewood Park with anything.
Hughes Da Man
Look at some of the games - West Ham, home & away - how did we get nothing? Watford away, Charlton away - just add up these points and look where we would be.. I know that most other teams can say the same - but it does tell it's own story
Wellsy
The West Ham games are a joke though arent they, especially that last one @ Ewood!!!!! I agree that outside the top 4 no club and then again not even them should leave Ewood with 3 points. The Watford game we were just out muscled, they played really well. I agree that Rovers tend to drop points against teams that they shouldnt usually the ones in and around the bttm 3, maybe they go in too confident which is always a bad thing
Clint
I think basically this season boils down to a squad not being capable of challenging on so many fronts as we were/could have been. Throw injuries to key players (like we've had) and we are in trouble, determination and grit can only take you so far. With these players being back next season, HOPEFULLY most if not ALL the others kept and some more gems unearthed by Sparky in the summer we'll be far better prepared and will even be able to feild certainly players for certain matches to keep others fresher?!?!
Hughes Da Man
OFF TOPIC AGAIN I KNOW :) It's been good to hear more from you Wellsy, if you don't already use the Vital Blackburn Forum I think you (and for that matter Clint also) should think about it as you both make plenty of valid points, so could kick off ALL manor of topic within this. Check it out by clicking here. You may have to sign in again but simply use you username and password as you do on this article forum board.
Hughes Da Man
getting somewhere back to the topic, I read that Hughes has likened Roberts to himself, only quicker, now if thats not a recomendations for any player then I dont know wot is. I always had faith in Roberts from the start and things will only get better for Rovers when he's firing in the goals alongside Benni
Clint
Now that is a compliment isn't it as we ALL know how good Sparky was!
Hughes Da Man
As Ferguson once said about Sparky... The best big game player ever...
MikeyGamst
 

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