Barnsley: Reds boss tips new boy Roberts for bright future

Marc Roberts
Marc Roberts
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Reds boss Lee Johnson believes new signing Marc Roberts has a bright future at the club.

But Johnson admits the first six months at Oakwell will be “massive” for the highly-rated centre-back.

Roberts penned a three-year deal with the Reds on Tuesday having joined the club on a free transfer from Conference side Halifax Town.

However, the 24-year-old is making a jump of two divisions and is likely to find his Saturday afternoons a lot harder than usual.

“He’s a very good player and has a bright future, but he’s got a lot to do,” Johnson told The Star. “I’m not saying that to put pressure on him, but the first six months will be massive for him.

“He needs to get up to speed and it will be a big jump for him moving up two divisions.

“But what I would say is that I don’t think it’s as hard for a defender say, as opposed to a striker or winger, to make that jump.

“It will be tougher for him but I believe he’s ready to make that jump and it’s up to us to help him develop as a player.”

Johnson added: “He started last season very well and attracted a lot of interest, but then his form tailed off a little bit and he’ll probably lost a few of us his Championship suitors.

“But he showed his character and finished the season strongly.

“We were interested in signing him when I was the Oldham manager and I think Barnsley were also interested in signing him.

“But he fits the DNA of player I’m looking for and he’s a good lad, someone I think I can work with.

“It’s really important he develops physically and catches up with his fitness, but that’s out job to help him.”

Roberts is Johnson’s first summer signing, with goalkeeper Adam Davies having signed a new two-year contract to stay at the club.

And if experienced defender Lewin Nyatanga agrees to his two-year deal, then Johnson admits he would probably only need one more centre-back to sure up his defence.

Mason Holgate, James Bree and George Smith are expected to be given chances to shine next season.

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