Arsenal end Roberts’ hopes of a dream Daggers return

Dagenham & Redbridge’s record appearance holder Tony Roberts was set for a shock return to action, before the Gunners pulled the plug

Daggers legend Tony Roberts was close to a sensational return to the first team this week, boss John Still has revealed.

Still was juggling a goalkeeping crisis ahead of the trips to Plymouth and Morecambe, after an appeal against regular custodian Chris Lewington’s two-match ban for his second sending-off of the season against Cheltenham was dismissed and they were left with just one senior goalkeeper – Dave Hogan – who has never started a league match.

But Roberts, who hung up his gloves last summer to concentrate on full-time coaching duties with Arsenal, was keen to come to Daggers’ rescue and add to his record 507 club appearances.

However, Still revealed a last-minute intervention from the Gunners denied Roberts a shock return between the sticks and Daggers instead signed 18-year-old Jonathan Bond on an emergency loan from Watford.

“We had a bit of a problem because we just assumed and Tony Roberts assumed that he would be playing,” said Still.

“Arsenal, unfortunately, didn’t comply with that.

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“At five o’clock last Saturday (after the Cheltenham game) Tony was on the phone saying ‘here I come’, but Arsenal didn’t comply, so we had to move on.”

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