Boro’ ended an unofficial convention in summer 2022 by signing a winger; Jordan Roberts one of several close season additions. You’ll have to forgive our slightly facetious tone here. It’s just that, for at least two or three campaigns before, it felt as if we’d shunned width in favour of playing many central midfielders in a narrow formation. So, Roberts’ signing was – if anything – a breath of fresh air. We genuinely can’t recall the last time we’d brought in an out-and-out wide lad. It could well have been Joe Leesley when Graham Westley came back for a fourth spell in charge.
Roberts was our seventh signing of summer 2022; indicative of Evans’ need and desire to build a new squad that would feel comfortable not hanging around the bottom spots in League Two. After coming in, the lad told the offy site: “I’m looking forward to working with the manager again. I find that he gets the best out of me and gives me the freedom and opportunity to express myself – as a player, that’s all you want. I’m creative, I’ll work hard and give my all to the team. I’ll add goals and assists and if that builds up, hopefully we’ll go on to have a good season.”
Jordan Roberts: Before Boro’
You may have noticed in that quote that Roberts spoke about linking back up with Evans. And that is indeed true. It was yet another signing with experience of working under the gaffer in a former life. In this case, it was during his spell down at Crawley Town between 2016 and 2018. The Red Devils are just one of the many clubs to make up Roberts’ experience in the Football League. After his time in Sussex, he moved to Ipswich Town for a couple of years. To be fair, his time with the Tractor Boys included two loan spells – one at Lincoln City and the other at Gillingham.
For those of you who are interested, he signed for Crawley Town on a freebie from Aldershot Town. The Shots picked up the lad from Peterborough United as a yoof; loaning him to Havant & Waterlooville, Tamworth, and Bishop’s Stortford.
So, what happened after Ipswich Town let him go in summer 2020? Well, Roberts moved north of the border and built a nice little career for himself in the SPL. First, he went to Hearts. But that didn’t go amazingly well. Motherwell got him in on loan in early 2021. And that seemed to go just dandy for him. Going into the 2021-2 season, he moved there again on loan until the start of the January transfer window. At that point, his Well made his stay permanent until the end of term. Yet, there was no extension forthcoming. Obviously not, because that’s when he joined us…