Barnsley: ‘Thankful’ Roberts hopes to repay Reds’ faith in him

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Defender Marc Roberts is delighted Barnsley took a chance on him.

The 26-year-old centre-back was plying his trade with Halifax in the Conference before moving to Oakwell at the end of the 2014/15 season.

And just over a season later he has come up against former Premier League clubs such as Newcastle, Aston Villa and Fulham.

“I’m just thankful Barnsley took a chance on me,” revealed Roberts. “I hope I’m paying them back for the faith they’ve shown in me.

“Playing non-league football you always wonder whether it’s going to happen.

“I want to keep improving and test myself and this is the best level to do it at.

“I feel like I’ve stepped up but I still want to keep getting better for the club.”

Roberts believes the strikers are much more ruthless in the Championship.

The Reds have kept five clean sheets so far this season, but shipped five goals last time out against Nottingham Forest.

Little mistakes at the back and the calibre of strikers in the second tier have seen Paul Heckingbottom’s charges concede the fifth highest amount of goals in the league so far this term.

“The striker are much more clinical at this level,” admitted Roberts, who was at the heart of the Reds’ remarkable duel success last season.

“A couple of games we’ve lost we’ve been unlucky.

“Teams have had two chances and scored twice whereas last year they may have had five chances and only score one.

“And that’s the difference from last year, it’s the quality.

“The ball might not come in as often but when it does it certainly has more quality.

“It’s all about being switched on for every second of the game.

“We just have to set a decent base for the strikers to capitalise on.”

And Roberts admits seeing chances go begging down the other end can be frustrating at times.

He added: “It is frustrating but that’s football isn’t it.

“As long as we do our job, keep clean sheets and don’t lose then it’s all right.

“But our defensive work starts at the front with the forwards pushing high so they help us out.

“A lot of games it’s either 0-0 or we win 3-2.

“It’s hard to get that balance but it’s something we’re working on.”