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Development Squad

Roberts talks cups, confidence and crowds


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Aaron Roberts simply cannot wait for Thursday’s Premier League Cup tie against West Brom.

The Baggies travel to Vitality Stadium for a 7pm kick-off looking to cement their place at the top of the Group A standings. 

However, they’ll face a resolute Cherries side who are battling to pick up an all-important three points and climb into second place, having played just two fixtures in the competition so far.

Ahead of the game, Roberts, who can play full-back or anywhere across the midfield, spoke with afcb.co.uk about his excitement and playing in front of the fans at Vitality Stadium.

“It's a massive opportunity for all of us,” he began.

“It’s a game that we really need to try and win if we want to progress in the group. We're really looking forward to it. 

“We lost 2-0 in against them earlier in the group stage but it didn't probably reflect the way we played.

“Going into tomorrow, we think they're quite high-pressing so we need to try and counter that to do well in the game. 

“The fact that we drew to a team like Arsenal gives us all the confidence because they’re probably one of the better sides we've faced this season.

“We're fully confident going into West Brom. We know we can beat them, but we just need to do everything right on the night.”

It’s not been an easy couple of weeks for the development squad, who have seen a Hampshire Senior Cup game at Farnborough postponed and a Premier League Cup clash with Southampton abandoned due to extreme fog just after half-time.

Getting minutes in the tank has been hard to come by, but Roberts insists it won’t affect the team’s flow.

“It's one of them ones, you can't do anything about it and you can't let it get to you.

“We know that when the time comes on Thursday, we can perform well and we have the perfect opportunity to do that by playing on a nice surface.

“These are the games you look forward to. Playing category one teams and playing under the lights, it's a massive opportunity for everyone and we're all looking forward to it. 

“Training has been good this week. We've had a normal build up with a bit more structure to it. 

“We just need to remember it's just another game, so we can perform well and just get the win hopefully in front of some fans.”  

Roberts has been part of the youth set up at the club since the age of 12, having been born in Dorchester and raised in Blandford. 

He was quick to point to the influence of his coaches, in particular Alan Connell and Shaun Cooper, both of whom have more recently aided his development in the youth team and development squad respectively. 

“They are massive for us,” he continued.

“The amount of work that we do in training probably goes unnoticed but they're a massive part of our development.

“We can only learn so much from them because it's then up to us when we're out there on the pitch. 

“I'll have my mum and dad here on Thursday, they'll be cheering me on. It puts on a bit of added pressure on but it's good for them to come down and support.”

Watch the development squad take on West Brom in the Premier League Cup tomorrow, with a 7pm kick-off at Vitality Stadium.

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