GARY Roberts has returned to Accrington Stanley - 14 years after leaving the Reds to join Ipswich Town.

The experienced 36-year-old has signed from Welsh League side Bala Town until the end of the season in a deal manager John Coleman said was a 'no brainer'.

The winger played 64 times for Stanley and was part of the historic side which clinched the Conference title in 2006, scoring 18 goals in that campaign.

After being released by Liverpool, Roberts began his professional career at Stanley and was a big hit between 2005-7 before moving to then Championship side Ipswich Town for a club record fee at the time of around £250,000.

He went onto Huddersfield where he scored a penalty as the Terriers were promoted to the Championship before a move to Swindon.

He then linked up with ex-Reds boss Paul Cook and was promoted at Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan. Roberts left the Latics in September, in the midst of the takeover, and opted to join Bala Town. The move is subject to international clearance.

“I think his experience will be invaluable. He has been promoted several times in football and he is still a very good player,” Coleman told the club website.

“It was a no-brainer and it will give the lads a boost. I think it’s the longest gap between a player coming back."

He added: “I am really proud of his career. When he was here he set the world alight, scored a lot of goals, and got the move to Ipswich. I remember watching him soon after in the East Anglian derby and he played really well.

“He has gone on to play at some big clubs, done really well, and he has worked hard on his fitness. I can’t remember him running as much as he does now when he played for us the first time!

“He has got every last drop out of his career. We are hoping this can be his swan song and we can do something special with him in this side.”