CARL ADAMS hailed Jack Roberts as a key signing for Stratford Town for this season – and next – after ending any uncertainty over the midfielder’s future.
Roberts, who began his career at Leicester City’s academy, had ended his loan spell at the DCS Stadium last week after playing 11 times and returned to parent club AFC Telford United.
But manager Adams and the player were keen to continue together at Town and, after the Bucks agreed to pay up part of his contract, Roberts will return.
“It’s a massive signing for us – he can be a key player for us for the next few seasons,” said Adams.
“He has already shown what he can do and he was more than happy to stay. He is a no-nonsense midfielder, he works hard, has got a lot of quality and he complements the other footballers in the team.”
Roberts was unavailable for Town’s 3-0 defeat at Cirencester Town on Tuesday but will be in contention for Saturday’s trip to Kettering Town, weather permitting.
Adams described the midweek match as a ‘night to forget’ as a rusty Stratford, playing their first match since Boxing Day, were clearly below-par.
To add to the frustration, four players were held up in traffic travelling from Birmingham and had to be left out of the initial 11 and handed places on the bench.
Adams admits Town are desperate to simply get a run of fixtures under their belt to regain full fitness and form.
“I always tell it as it is and we were awful on Tuesday,” said Adams. “But we’ve not kicked a ball for three weeks and you could see that. We lacked sharpness, we lack match fitness. For all the training you can do, playing a game is always very different.
“It didn’t help either that I had to put four players on the bench who would have been in the team because they didn’t arrive until quarter to eight. They were just getting changed when we kicked off. All in all it was a night to forget. We just to have to accept it and move on.
“We just want to get back playing.”
The forecast rain is already raising doubts over Saturday’s match at Kettering while Town are then due to visit Dunstable Town on Tuesday.
Town have had to further shuffle their fixtures with the home game against Hitchin Town on January 29 now called off because of Hitchin’s county cup commitments. It will now be played on March 15, leaving Town with just one free midweek between now and Easter.
However, Adams is confident he has the squad to cope. Striker Tyrone Fagan is back training after work commitments have curtailed his involvement.
Aaron Stringfellow, however, still has one match to miss to complete his ban after his red card against Redditch.