Roberts is a lucky mascot

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IN JASON Roberts, Reading have a lucky charm.

His arrival has coincided with an upturn in the Royals’ fortunes. The experienced striker has started eight matches since joining the club for an undisclosed fee from Blackburn Rovers at the end of January and Reading have not dropped a single point.

A contract dispute at Rovers forced Roberts to look elsewhere for regular first-team football and the 34-year-old opted to sign an 18-month contract at the Madejski Stadium.

Having dropped back into the second tier of English football, the Grenada international has plundered four goals, all of which have come on home soil.

Roberts, who bagged two goals in the final three matches of the 2010-11 campaign to help Rovers avoid relegation from the top flight, has described his Reading team-mates as “fantastic” and is enjoying his stint at the Championship outfit.

Brian McDermott’s men are looking to return to the Premier League after a three-year absence. They narrowly missed out last term, losing 4-2 to Swansea City in the Play-Off final at Wembley.

Following their 3-1 victory over Ipswich Town last weekend, Reading are level points on with second-placed West Ham, who are ahead of them on goal difference.

“We are just quietly getting on with our work and it is a good place to be,” said Roberts, who also works as a media pundit for the BBC. “I think we are under the radar and we like that.”

One to watch

Noel Hunt has been instrumental in the Royals surge up the table, notching three goals in his last six outings. His superb form in front of goal has boosted the striker’s hopes of being named in the Republic of Ireland’s squad for the European Championships this summer.