» Robins re­dis­cover that win­ning feel­ing

Gloucestershire Echo - - FRONT PAGE - By JON PALMER

CHELTENHAM Town man­ager Michael Duff called for more con­sis­tency and be­lief from his play­ers against stronger teams af­ter they edged fur­ther away from the League Two drop zone.

A 2-0 win at home to Cam­bridge United – thanks to goals from an own goal and a penalty from Conor Thomas – came with­out de­fen­sive mid­fielder Jor­dan Till­son and lead­ing scorer Luke Var­ney through in­jury.

And it lifts them back above their op­po­nents and nine points clear of the bot­tom two.

It con­tin­ues an ex­cel­lent record against the teams around them in the ta­ble.

Duff said: “The rea­son we are in and around them is we need to show more con­sis­tency and be­lief when we play against the bet­ter teams.

“There are some good play­ers in there, but they need to show that and be­lieve in them­selves a bit more and bring it out in each other.

“You should have more free­dom play­ing against the so-called bet­ter teams, but we some­times take a back­ward step, have a look at teams and re­alise they are not all that, but we are 1-0 down at that mo­ment.

“The real pres­sure games, like the last three home games is when we de­liver good per­for­mances.

“It’s a strange one, a men­tal­ity thing and a lit­tle bit more be­lief with each other.”

Duff agreed that win­ning with­out Till­son and Var­ney – nei­ther of whom he ex­pects to be fit for Satur­day’s visit of Port Vale – should give con­fi­dence to the rest of the squad.

He said: “Luke be­ing the age that he is, he felt his ham­string and made the right de­ci­sion to come off against Grimsby when he did.

“Jor­dan Till­son was ex­cel­lent on Satur­day, de­liv­er­ing what we want from him, that bit of steel.

“It’s al­ways op­por­tu­ni­ties for oth­ers. Kevin Daw­son has come into the team and done well. He gives us good en­ergy, good legs, breaks things up, plays for­ward.

“He’s dif­fer­ent to Chris Cle­ments, who will sit, but pass it more.

“They all have their own in­di­vid­ual at­tributes so it’s up to us as a staff to de­cide what team plays based on who are play­ing, who is on form and who is in­jured.

“It’s not just a case of keep­ing the same team on Satur­day be­cause we won. It’s not al­ways that easy.”

Duff praised Will Boyle’s im­pact on his re­turn to the side.

“He’s done well,” said Duff. “There was a lot of leg work in that game be­cause of the way they played.

“The back five had to shuf­fle and shift quickly across the pitch. He’s only done a week’s train­ing and played no min­utes of foot­ball, so to get through that was pleased.

“Chris Hussey was un­der the weather to­day and cramp­ing up at the end, but he got through it.

“He half asked if he could come off with 10 min­utes to go, but I said no.”

Duff con­tin­ued: “That’s what you want, good per­for­mances are nor­mally based on phys­i­cal­ity and you come in with your lungs com­ing out of your mouth be­cause you are blow­ing.

They are your best games, sweat on the shirt. Then you add your tech­ni­cal and tac­ti­cal abil­ity into that as well.

“Some­times you walk off the pitch and think you could have done more phys­i­cally. It of­ten cor­re­lates that when you run around a lot, you play bet­ter.”

Sean Long was also on the bench af­ter in­jury af­ter be­ing left out of the re­serve team’s win over For­est Green.

“It’s a dif­fi­cult one for Longy as he prob­a­bly needed to play in the re­serve team game, but we needed him for this game,” said Duff.

“He’s trained for three,three-and-ahalf weeks, ev­ery day so it’s just more match min­utes.

“If we needed to put him for the last 20 or 25 min­utes, we would have done.”

Duff was un­sure why Thomas handed over penalty du­ties to Billy Waters whoe skied a sec­ond spot kick over the

“I have no idea” he said. “We have just had a chat with him in there and he’s des­per­ate to get off the mark, but he’s done his bit by win­ning the penalty. Then let the penalty taker it.

“It’s all right now as it’s 2-0 and it’s not cost us.

“It’s un­der­stand­able a cen­tre for­ward see­ing it as an op­por­tu­nity to score and at 2-0 he maybe thought it was a free­bie, but Scott (Flin­ders) has had to make a de­cent save just af­ter that so if he’d missed that and they’d scored it would have been hairy scary, but I thought Billy’s over­all con­tri­bu­tion was ex­cel­lent.

“Billy didn’t step up think­ing he was go­ing to miss it. He’s a cen­tre for­ward who has taken penal­ties be­fore.

“Conor is the penalty taker, but if some­one else stepped up and said they wanted to take it, it’s a dif­fi­cult one for me to get in­volved in as I was use­less at penal­ties.

“About 20 years ago I missed one in the same goal, not as bad as that one though.”

Pic­tures: Antony Thomp­son - Thou­sand Word Me­dia

Kevin Daw­son tries to get past Hay­den Coul­son

Rak­ish Bing­ham bat­tles with Gary Dee­gan

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