LIAM Roberts hopes the number of shots he is facing – the most in English football – decreases as Barnsley’s new-look defence get more used to playing together.
The 28-year-old goalkeeper, who is on loan from Championship Middlesbrough for the season, has started every league game so far this season for the Reds.
He has made the most saves of any League One goalkeeper with 44 in 11 games – the joint most in the EFL this season.
He has produced some inspired individual performances such as in the 4-0 win at Cambridge United on Tuesday when he made eight saves, his fifth clean sheet in 11 matches.
Head coach Neill Collins has said one of the most important aspects the Reds need to work on is protecting Roberts more and reducing opposition chances.
Roberts told the Chronicle: “I want to keep it (the number of shots) as low as we possibly can. In the nicest way possible, the less I do the better.
“I am there to do my job.
“I am in the team to keep the ball out of the net and I will help the boys as much as I can.
“It’s a new back five. Lads are still getting used to it, there have been injuries.
“There are still relationships being built.
“We are trying to build out from the back, trying to do mixed football.
“Things will go wrong.
“But we’re still picking up results and having good performances.”
How would Roberts rate fourth-placed Barnsley’s season which is now a quarter of the way through?
“We all know we want to be better at home. I just don’t think we need to put pressure on it. We need to be as free as we possibly can.
“We need to make sure we have the same mentality at home as away.
“Personally it is going well but I still think there is room for me to improve and have influence on the team.”
Roberts was asked whether he would like to sign permanently for Barnsley once his loan ends next summer.
“I am loving playing games here and there is a great infrastructure.
“I genuinely don’t know what will happen in the future.
“I am looking forward to finishing the season strongly and going from there.
“I am open to all discussions.
“But we’ve just gone into October and there’s a lot of football to play.”