Dino was the reason I joined - Roberts

PUBLISHED: 09:46 02 December 2008 | UPDATED: 16:48 05 May 2010

New boy Mark Roberts has revealed first team coach Dino Maamria had a major influence on his decision to swap the Victoria Stadium for Broadhall Way. Roberts was under Maamria during the Tunisian s spell as manager with the Cheshire side and the pair str

New boy Mark Roberts has revealed first team coach Dino Maamria had a major influence on his decision to swap the Victoria Stadium for Broadhall Way.

Roberts was under Maamria during the Tunisian's spell as manager with the Cheshire side and the pair struck up a good working relationship.

The giant defender, who impressed on his debut against Wrexham at the weekend, believes Maamria's presence should make it easy for him to settle at Boro.

"I knew Dino from Northwich and I'm staying at the same hotel as him at the moment," said Roberts. "He was a big factor in me coming here.

"We just seemed to strike up a good relationship from the off. He was a big part of the reason why I signed a two-year contract with Northwich last year.

"He has a belief and a desire that the gaffer here shares at this club. I just thought it was a massive opportunity that I couldn't turn down."

Despite the disappointing 2-1 defeat against Wrexham, Roberts has seen enough in his short time with Boro to believe it is only a matter of time before they start climbing the table to those play-off places.

"You can tell in training that this is a team that should be higher in the league," he said. "The training is on a different skill level to Northwich with all due respect.

"This is a team that should be and will be challenging at the top of the league."

Westley must decide over the coming weeks who will complement Roberts at the heart of the defence with Luke Oliver and Mark Albrighton the likely candidates.

Roberts said it is imperative that whoever is chosen gets a chance to establish an understanding over a run of games.

"I've played every game at Northwich this season but I've had three or four different partners and it's never easy when that happens," he said. "When you're trying to strike up a partnership and you're being split up every three or four games it's difficult.

"I've had a chance against Wrexham and hopefully the gaffer thinks that I've taken it."

Westley was delighted with Roberts' debut and his comments suggest the 25-year-old may soon be handed the captain's armband.

"I thought Roberts was awesome," said the Boro boss. "He's a man. He's a leader. He wins his tackles and deals with his individual battle.

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