Chesterfield’s most influential player of the last few seasons Gary Roberts is set to rejoin old boss Paul Cook at Portsmouth.
The 31-year-old attacking midfielder made 89 appearances in his two seasons at the Proact, scoring 20 goals and turning provider for plenty more.
It is understood Portsmouth have offered him a three-year deal and they will pay a nominal fee to Chesterfield.
While Roberts has undoubtedly been the star of the show on many occasions – and League Two player of the year in 2013/14 – he is at the top end of Chesterfield’s earners, so freeing up his wage will give Dean Saunders considerable room for manoeuvre.
Roberts’ hamstrings had been troublesome during the recently completed season and this may well have been a major consideration for the Spireites as they contemplated losing such a widely-respected player.
Few players in recent years have made such a swift and considerable impact as Roberts, recruited from Swindon Town.
His personality and his regular use of social media have endeared him to Spireites fans and despite being at the North Derbyshire club for a relatively short time, he will be remembered fondly and many will confer legendary status on him.
His initial recruitment and subsequent memorable performances certainly took the heat off Cook, who let the legendary Jack Lester go in the summer he signed Roberts.
The new man adequately, and quickly, filled the boots of scoring supremo Lester. And his boots are going to be equally difficult to fill.
Saunders will be hoping that Sylvan Ebanks-Blake could be the man to step up to the plate.
Saunders remains hopeful he can persuade Jimmy Ryan to stay with the club, as losing him as well as Roberts will undoubtedly weaken a squad that has performed so well for the last two years.
However it seems increasingly likely that Ryan could join League One rivals Fleetwood Town.