Gary Roberts is now fully fit and ready to make an impact on Pompey’s promotion challenge, according to Paul Cook.
The midfielder made his playing return as a late substitute after more than two months out with an ankle problem in the 3-2 Boxing Day defeat at Leyton Orient.
He (Roberts) will be a massive player for us as the season goes onPaul Cook
He was then thrown on for half an hour in the 0-0 draw with Luton, although he looked rusty with so little game time under his belt recently.
Roberts, however, is a quality player and the Pompey boss expects him to add an extra dimension to the side when he forces his way back into the starting line-up.
Cook said: ‘Gary is ready now.
‘But we are playing well and it’s difficult to fit him in.
‘Kyle Bennett is in really good form, Gareth Evans is getting chances so Gary will find it tough to get in the team at the moment, especially when he is not quite match sharp.
‘I think that shows the quality that we have.
‘But one thing is for sure, you won’t keep Gary Roberts out of the team for long.
‘He will be a massive player for us as the season goes on.’
The 31-year-old provided one real glimpse of his quality in the second half with a clever lofted pass to Gareth Evans who forced a good save from the Luton goalkeeper.
But it remains to be seen how he will fit in with Marc McNulty having shone in his role in recent weeks.
Cook said: ‘Anyone can see the quality that Gary has got with the way he clipped that ball and found Gareth Evans at the far post.
‘On another day, Gareth scores and we win the game.
‘But Gary will pick people out for fun and our supporters can look forward to seeing him when he gets that extra sharpness back.’
– STEVE WILSON