All I want for Christmas is three points - Roberts
Boro skipper hoping team can get back to winning ways
WHEN Stevenage captain Mark Roberts opens his Christmas presents on Saturday morning, he might be a little disappointed.
For rather than an iPad or XBox 360 Kinect, the defender is hoping for just one thing this festive season – all three points from Stevenage’s Boxing Day clash against Oxford United.
“We really want to get those three points on Boxing Day and follow that up by getting as many points over the Christmas period as we can,” Roberts told The Comet.
“There won’t be many days off for myself and the rest of the squad over Christmas and the New Year. It’s typical in a footballer’s life.
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“The job comes first this time of year and although lots of people have time off this is the busiest time of the season for us.
“We’ve got Christmas Day off. We’ll be set something to do on Christmas Day to make sure we’re ok on Boxing Day but we’ve got to focus on the games as this is a great opportunity to get lots of points.
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After they host Oxford United - the club this week said it was hopeful that the game would go ahead following the cold snap - Boro travel to Burton Albion on December 28 and then make the trip to Gillingham on New Year’s Day before hosting Barnet on January 3.
Boro have been without a game since the 1-0 home defeat to Northampton Town on December 11 and have only played the once in December because of the weather.
Despite conditions making it difficult to train in Stevenage, the club has been down to the former David Beckham Football Academy in Greenwich where this week they played a behind closed doors match against Dagenham which they won 2-0.
“It’s been a very frustrating time for everyone,” Roberts said.
“We want to be playing competitive football and when you’re just training it’s obviously not the same.
“We’ve been lucky in that we’ve had access to some decent facilities whereas some other teams may not have had that, such as the 3G surface in Stevenage.
“It’s been difficult to get on the training ground up here but we’ve spent the last couple of days down at the David Beckham Academy and we played a friendly against Dagenham behind closed doors and beat them 2-0.
“We had two 45-minute halves and it was roll-on, roll-off so everyone got some proper 11-a-side football which we all needed, especially because over the next 10-15 days we’ve got a lot of games to play and it’s going to be an important time for the squad.
“One of the big successes of last season was when we lost a game we bounced straight back with victories and although it was disappointing not to get a result last time out we’ll be looking to bounce back again.”
The Oxford game could be the last for on-loan striker Chris Holroyd who will return back to parent club Brighton unless the two clubs strike a deal to keep him at the Lamex Stadium well into the New Year.
Holroyd made an immediate impact when he joined Boro on a three-month deal in September by scoring on his debut against Lincoln City and following that up with a hat-trick in his next match away to Hereford United.
The striker has a one-in-two ratio at Boro, scoring six times in 12 matches, but this does not tell the whole story.
Not only has the 24-year-old former Cambridge United striker missed the postponed matches against Port Vale and Bury, but he has also been in and out of the squad these past six weeks due to his ineligibility to play for Boro during their FA Cup run.
“Obviously his initial impact was massive,” Roberts said.
“He’s a quality player but it’s been difficult for him not being able to play in cup games and this has disrupted his play.
“Any striker would tell you that it’s important to play consistently for a team and unfortunately he’s just not been able to do that but he’s a class act and he’s done well here.”