Stevenage skipper Roberts ready to face former club Crewe

EIGHT years and four months after making his professional debut for Crewe Alexandra, Stevenage captain Mark Roberts is looking forward to a return to his former club on Saturday, writes Sam Glanz.

Roberts rose through The Railwaymen’s youth ranks after joining at just 11 years of age, but sentiment will be put aside when the whistle goes on Saturday afternoon.

Speaking to the Comet, Roberts said: “It will be nice to go back; when we went there a couple of years ago it was actually the first time I’ve been back.

“There’s been a lot of change at the football club in terms of personnel, but they’ve still got people and staff that worked there when I was growing up there and it’s always nice to see some friendly faces.

“I’ve got quite a lot of friends from the area and my family were brought up there so a lot of people close to me follow their results.

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“I’ve still got some friends that live there so it is one of the results that you look out for, any former club you take an interest in.”

The academy at Crewe is held in high regard with Nick Powell’s summer transfer to Manchester United the latest in a string of big names to come out of the club, including Robbie Savage, Danny Murphy and Dean Ashton.

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“I used to watch Danny Murphy when I was in the youth team and Dean Ashton was in my youth team.

“He was one of my good friends growing up and we had some good times together, he was always a star in the making and it’s obviously disappointing that he’s had to retire,” said Roberts.

After a disappointing run of one win in eight with Stevenage, the Boro skipper is determined to remain upbeat: “I think it’s key to remain positive really, remembering what we’re good at and what the players’ strengths are.

“Avoid those silly mistakes that have been costing us of late and just stay together, anytime you get a couple of bad results togetherness is important and we’ve got to stay together as a team, I’m sure we’ll come through it fighting and stronger.”

But the 29-year-old is well aware of the task that faces his side on Saturday, with Crewe having won five of their last six games.

“They are in a rich vein of form and they’ve had some really good results recently so we know we’re in for a tough test.

“We played them earlier in the season and they took us a bit by surprise, they took a 2-0 lead but we fought back then and our fighting spirit is what we’ve got to show on Saturday.

“It’s still very tight and even though we’ve had a run of bad results a good run of form can push you back into the play-off picture, so that’s the ambition and that’s what we’ve got to make sure we’re working towards,” said Roberts.

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