Yeovil Town manager Darren Way expects right-back Connor Roberts to still make it to the top of the professional game, despite the early curtailment of his six month loan spell with Bristol Rovers. When the 21 year old was sent to join the League One side back in August, the logical conclusion was that the Swansea City player was being tested as to whether he could make it at the next level up, having played 54 times for the Glovers during the 2015-16 season.
Unfortunately, due to competition for places in the right-back area, Roberts was only able to make five appearances for Bristol Rovers during his time there, with only two of those matches coming in third tier Football League matches. Today saw his loan spell ended early leading to the obvious question of how far up in the game he could expect to play. Way told BBC Somerset today that he still expects him to get to the top:
"I know Darrell Clarke really well and he's a good guy, and unfortunately for Connor it's not quite worked out. All I know is what he's done for this football club is fantastic, and he's a very good player that's going to the top. It will just be a matter of when."
The other obvious question to ask Way was whether the club would have any interest in bringing Roberts back to Huish Park. At a technical level, today's decision by Bristol Rovers boss Darrell Clarke makes absolutely no difference to that hypothetical situation - his agreement with Rovers was to run the loan spell until January, whilst Transfer Window regulations mean no Football League side can loan him out until the window re-opens in the New Year.
However, Way believes that he probably will get a call from either Roberts or Swansea City in the near future to consider his thoughts, and he gave a reminder that last season he did manage to fit fellow Swansea right-back Liam Shephard and Roberts himself into the same starting line-up by pushing Shephard into midfield. So he implied that sort of an arrangement could still be a possibility:
"I think that Connor being the player that Connor is, from an outsider that would be the first words if he's gone back, to make sure they make that connection with us again. And that's natural. I know Liam Shephard is a fantastic right-back. I think you've got to be careful what you say. Last year I made the decision to bring both of them in, even when Connor was here and Connor perhaps would have thought there would have been a little bit of a threat."
The main issue for Way though would be that he already has five loan players on his books, with Swansea City pair Liam Shephard and Ryan Hedges committed to the club for the whole of the 2016-17 season. Thus any attempt to bring Roberts in would mean a mini-headache. Way would either have to negotiate the early ending of Shephard's loan spell, or make the decision to not renew one of his other loan players whose deals are due up in January, with West Bromwich Albion striker Tahvon Campbell and AFC Bournemouth pair Matt Butcher and Ben Whitfield on the club's books for the next few weeks.
At present, all five loan players fit into non-conflicting positions on the pitch in their natural roles, whereas unless Shephard is the player who is sent back early then the reintroduction of Roberts would see the set of loanees ending up looking potentially a little imbalanced. The only thing that is certain is that the list of five loan players cannot be sensibly altered for the next three fixtures, at which point - regardless of any thoughts on Roberts - the future of Campbell, Butcher and Whitfield would have to be addressed.
Link: Roberts Has Bristol Rovers Loan Spell Ended Early.
Link: Connor Roberts : Yeovil Town Statistics.
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