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Liam Roberts: I know I have to battle to keep my shirt

21 November 2017

Liam Roberts is pleased The Saddlers have another home game in quick succession - and will push to start a second consecutive game.

Roberts made only his second ever League start for Walsall on Saturday in our 1-0 defeat against Gillingham, his first since February 2016.

The Saddlers stopper - who turns 23 today - will be pushing to start once again with Mark Gillespie similarly looking to return to the first-team fold.

Roberts knows he has to give absolutely everything to stay in the starting XI tonight, and is looking for the side to put in a good performance and take a result from tonight’s game.

“We have to make sure we’re both pushing each other day in, day out,” Roberts said of the relationship between himself and Gillespie. 

“It’s not just the goalkeepers - it’s the whole team. 

“It’s what the gaffer (Jon Whitney) and the coaching staff instil in the team and we have to take that onto the pitch. 

“I have to battle to keep my shirt now to stay in the team for tonight and even if I’m not, I still have to give it 110% to get back into the squad.

“It’s a good thing to have another game on Tuesday to right the result, but the performance comes first and we’ll take it from there.

“The performance (in the Gillingham defeat) was outstanding from everyone on the pitch and it was just unfortunate that the result didn't come.

“Everyone is fighting together and we’re in this together - no matter what the outcome is, we’re always fighting.

“It was a difficult one to take. We created so many chances so to be done with a sucker-punch - sometimes it’s how football goes, but we need to rally together for tonight.”

Roberts was given plenty of time to prepare for his first League start in nearly two years, and knows that Gillespie will be keeping him on his toes just as the younger stopper has done for Gillespie in the opening few months of the 2017/18 season.

“Mark has always been supportive,” said Roberts.

“I’m always on his back - 110% - because I know he’d be exactly the same with me. It comes down to the fact that there’s one spot and two of us. 

“I was told I would be starting on Friday in our meeting, and we worked on it then and I made sure my head was right for Saturday.

“We have to perform because we always have someone on our back ready to come in, so we have to be consistent.”


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