Departure Lounge – Gareth Roberts
As was widely predicted, Gareth Roberts will leave Derby when his contract expires this summer.
Clough has outlined his reasons whilst also stating that Robbo has been one of the most consistent left backs in the Championship over the last few seasons. From a fans perspective, Robbo has been regularly slated this season but then got a great send off at the Millwall game.
To my mind Robbo is a good professional who has never let DCFC down but he’s not a promotion player.
Due mainly to his size, Robbo has been regularly targeted with a barrage of diagonal balls but, in the main, has dealt with this well. Likewise I can’t remember him making any obvious howlers and I certainly don’t recall him getting a roasting such as the one Jimmy OC got at Leicester.
His distribution was ok and noticeably improved during his time with more balls going into feet than the previous standard pump into the channel.
However when we signed Craig Forsyth, the things you don’t get with Robbo were made screamingly obvious for all to see.
Being the best part of a foot taller, Forsyth didn’t get targeted by the opposition in the same way Robbo did. But in addition, his size and general areal acumen, provided Derby with the option to target the opposition full back with the odd diagonal ball when required.
Likewise Robbo contributed nothing in either area from set pieces usually being either on the back post (defending) or half way line (attacking). Forsyth on the other hand occupied the front post in either scenario. I read in a book recently that a player on the post will clear 3 or 4 balls off the line a season. A tall player on the front post will clear 5 balls a match.
Whilst Robbo was clearly not singularly responsible for our issues from set pieces and crosses, these scenarios are such a key element in the Championship, it is definitely the right time to part ways and upgrade.
In summary Robbo was a solid if unspectacular full back who will always get a good reception at Pride Park but will probably do well to continue playing at Championship level.