Liam Roberts ready to fight for Walsall number one spot
Liam Roberts insists he is taking nothing for granted as he gets set to battle Chris Dunn for Walsall’s number one jersey.
The 23-year-old, who has come through the youth ranks at the Banks’s Stadium, began the 2017/18 campaign as understudy to Mark Gillespie.
But he forced his way into the side and then played a starring role as Dean Keates’ men held on to their League One status.
Walsall-born Roberts will now join up with his team-mates for the start of pre-season on Wednesday and is widely expected to be handed the number one shirt for the new campaign. But following the arrival of Dunn from Wrexham, he says he cannot take his place for granted.
“I’ve not thought about getting the number one shirt,” Roberts said.
“I’ve just made sure I’ve worked hard during pre-season so I can come back and hit the ground running.
“I’m coming back ready to fight for my place. That’s all I’ve ever done and that’s what I’ll do again.
“We have brought in Chris Dunn so there is competition there.
“I’m determined to come in and hit the ground running.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to win a place in the side.”
Roberts had a two-week break from football at the end of last season.
But ever since he’s been trying to build up his fitness ahead of the new campaign.
“Mentally last season was very tough,” he continued.
“We got that point at Bradford which got us safe and settled the nerves for the final day.
“But there were 44 games before that Bradford match.
“To have so much riding on those games at the end of the season, it was tough.
“So I had two weeks to rest my body. But then I started to gradually build things up and do more fitness work.
“You want to come back flying for the start of pre-season.
“It’s always tough, but if you can tick over and do as much as you can when you are off, it helps you to be prepared.
“I’ve been working every other day. I’ve done a bit, then had a rest day and that really helps you keep ticking over.”