In Roberts Cook trusts as pair reunite

Manager Paul Cook comforts Gary Roberts after the midfielder was sent off for Chesterfield against Mansfield in 2013 Picture: Tina Jenner
Manager Paul Cook comforts Gary Roberts after the midfielder was sent off for Chesterfield against Mansfield in 2013 Picture: Tina Jenner
  • Roberts hails relationship with Cook
  • New signing had difficult time under Paolo Di Canio at Swindon
  • Attacker had bests years of his life under Pompey boss

GARY ROBERTS believes he has been reunited with the man to get the best out of him.

And Pompey’s new recruit feels it is the trust factor between him and Paul Cook which has made their relationship thrive.

I’ve found a manager now who I’ve known for a long time and gets the best out of me.

Gary Roberts

Roberts has found a bond with the Blues boss lacking in other managerial link-ups he has had in his career.

The 31-year-old pinpointed a difficult relationship with Paolo Di Canio while at Swindon as an example of how it can go wrong.

That led to his departure from the County Ground after just 12 months two years ago.

Cook was the man to rescue him and the two formed a strong bond after his move north to Chesterfield.

The result was 20 goals across 84 appearances for the Spireites, along with incessant assists and plaudits.

The League Two title arrived in 2014 as the attacking talent was named the division’s player of the year.

More of the same followed last season as Chesterfield made it to the play-offs – continuing a personal run of making it to those end-of-season games or better six seasons on the bounce.

And Roberts feels it’s Cook who is the man who can make him tick.

He said: ‘He trusts me and rates me. It’s a perfect fit for me.

‘It’s about trust. If he didn’t trust me he wouldn’t bring me here.

‘You don’t get trust overnight. You earn it. I did that at Chesterfield and I earned it.

‘I’ve played for a few managers.

‘I played for Paolo Di Canio at Swindon and I didn’t like the way he worked and he didn’t take to me.

‘It never worked, so we shook hands and left. That’s the way it is.

‘But I’ve found a manager now who I’ve known for a long time and gets the best out of me.

‘He trusts me and I trust him.

‘We get on and we both love the game, which is a big thing.

‘He’s an infectious fella as people who have spoken to him will realise.

‘He loves the game – and I’m similar.

‘I’m a big football fan so it’s a great fit.

‘It couldn’t be more perfect for me. I’m over the moon to be here with him.’

Despite having such a warm relationship with Cook, Roberts explained their link-up doesn’t enter the realms of cosiness.

The duo played together as Cook’s career came to a close at Accrington Stanley, and then came Chesterfield success in the past two seasons.

Roberts admitted he was always keen on following Cook to Pompey, after he was announced as Andy Awford’s successor.

He said: ‘I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve played with him and for him.

‘The last couple of years with him have been two of the best years of my life.

‘He knows the way I play, he knows the way I work and he knows what keeps me going and happy.

‘He also knows when to nail me as well.

‘He knows me down to the ground and it’s great when you find a manager who suits you.

‘He’s come to a great club – and I’ve been able to follow him here.’