LIAM Roberts is hoping to achieve the first promotion of his career this season and has learned to stop obsessing over clean sheets.

The 29-year-old goalkeeper has never been promoted in the past but looked set to go up automatically from League Two with Northampton Town two years ago. The Cobblers began the final day in third place and won at Barrow but were overtaken on goal difference by Bristol Rovers who beat Scunthorpe United 7-0.

Roberts was sent off in injury-time for handling outside the box so missed the first leg of play-offs in which they lost to Mansfield Town.

Roberts told the Chronicle: “I have been close before. It was gutting and crazy but that is the harsh reality of football. It can be up or down.

“You just have to keep a level head, keep positive and push through it.

“This a great position to be in and I am loving it.

“It would be great to get a promotion and celebrate that but we’ll focus on each game as it comes.

“We’re developing as a team.

“We started the season with the gaffer and players coming in late and we’ve built the team ethos and it’s a really good place to be.

“We’ve worked hard to get to this point.”

Although Barnsley are competing for promotion, they have kept just one clean sheet in their last 17 league games.

Roberts told the Chronicle: “If I am brutally honest, I used to be obsessed with clean sheets. But now if we win 10-9, I will take it.

“I used to be so focused on having the most clean sheets. But the team has shown so much resilience even if they go 1-0 down. People don’t worry or panic, we stick to the gameplan and we have scorers left, right and centre.

“We’re obviously disappointed not to have more clean sheets but we don’t put too much pressure on it.”

Roberts is on loan from Middlesbrough where his contract expires in the summer.

“I haven’t really heard anything.

“I am loving it here and concentrating on what we’re doing. My personal situation is nothing to do with it.

“My focus is getting Barnsley promoted. My time isn’t up yet and hopefully it isn’t up in the future.”

Roberts has become a cult hero with the fans for his shot-stopping but also his passionate post-win celebrations.

“It’s just pure emotion. I am just happy that we’ve won.

“Everyone wants to win in life. We only get these emotions after wins.

“You work the whole week for it and the winning feeling doesn’t come around that often.

“It’s just a nice thing to have and I looked forward to it.

“The fans have been incredible for us. It’s nice to give something back to them. They are a massive help.”