Liam Roberts hoping to make it third time lucky by clinching promotion with Barnsley FC

PROMOTION would mean the world to Liam Roberts - and with good reason.

The Barnsley custodian, on a season-long loan from Middlesbrough, found himself involved in an infamous end to a campaign a couple of years ago.

Last term, he was part of a Boro squad who lost in the Championship play-offs to Coventry City.

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In fairness, the pain was far more acute in his previous season with Northampton Town in 2021-22.

Liam Roberts of Barnsley (Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images)Liam Roberts of Barnsley (Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Liam Roberts of Barnsley (Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images)

The Midlander was part of a Cobblers side who lost out on automatic promotion from League Two during a crazy final day of events.

Northampton won 3-1 at Barrow, but found themselves in the play-offs after Bristol Rovers thrashed Scunthorpe 7-0 to snatch third place on goals scored.

To rub salt into wounds, Roberts - in a season which ended in him claiming the League Two Golden Glove award and being named in the PFA Team of the Year in the fourth tier - was part of a Cobblers line-up who lost in the play-offs to Mansfield Town.

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On his own personal motivation in 2023-24, Roberts - who saved a late penalty in Saturday's loss at Charlton Athletic as the fifth-placed Reds suffered a surprise away loss - said: “You look at games and stuff like that and to miss out on one goal in the grand scheme of a 46-game season is crazy.

Barnsley keeper Liam Roberts is beaten as Derby open the scoring back on 24th February 2024 (Picture: Tony Johnson)Barnsley keeper Liam Roberts is beaten as Derby open the scoring back on 24th February 2024 (Picture: Tony Johnson)
Barnsley keeper Liam Roberts is beaten as Derby open the scoring back on 24th February 2024 (Picture: Tony Johnson)

"But that’s the harsh reality of football.

"Some days, it’s brilliant and on tough days, it’s tough,” continued Roberts, pictured.

"You’ve just got to keep that positive mindset and emotional attachment to wanting to be successful.

"The lads have got that in abundance in the group. It’s just how we micro-manage that and I think the best way to do it is to tick it off into individual games and keep going game by game and not getting too attached and too emotional on what is going on outside.

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"How I look at it (at Northampton) is what can I do about it now?

"If I make a mistake, I cannot do anything about it, it’s done and dusted and it’s about how can I move on and implement something positive to counteract that.

“It was tough and a tough time, but then you have to go again and go ‘right, I can’t change what I have done, how can I be individually better to get a positive output?’"

It’s been tough of late for promotion-chasing Barnsley and also hard for Roberts’ deputy Ben Killip.

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The former Hartlepool United player stepped in for Roberts in last month’s win at Carlisle United, but found himself back on the bench in the next game when the Reds’ first-choice was back fit.

Roberts added: "It’s obviously frustrating for him, but he’s an incredible guy around the place and definitely pushing me every day and being supportive all the time.

“As a team, we’ve got that in abundance and we’re in a really good place.

"He’s a credit to himself and when he’s played, he’s done really, really well.

"I’m obviously looking over my shoulder and have just got to do what I do on the pitch when I get the chance."