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Appleton Writes

3 January 2015

The head coach's notes from the Cheltenham matchday magazine

Welcome back as we take on Cheltenham Town for the third time this season. May I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy New Year and wish you all the best for the 12 months ahead.

We go into 2015 on the back of an excellent win at Plymouth last Sunday. I was delighted with the attitude from the whole squad that day and think we fully deserved the three points.  We knew that Plymouth would come at us in the first few minutes but we had talked about being patient and staying disciplined. In front of a big crowd like that you have to have a maturity in key moments and that proved crucial because a rash moment from one of their lads reduced them to ten men and from that incident onwards I felt we were the dominant side. I thought it was a nice touch from the chairman to give the fans a scarf each before the game and like you I wore mine with enormous pride at the final whistle.

I don’t like to single players out but I was really pleased for John Campbell that he got his first goal for us. In some ways it was typical of the goals we have seen him score and why we have brought him into the club. He got us back on level terms and then Robbo scored a fantastic winner. I’m sure he will score plenty more in his career but I’m not sure he will score many better than that one. With Chey Dunkley doing ever so well on his first start it was a very encouraging performance all round.

I was pleased for the lads but most of all I was pleased for the fans because we know we let you down on Boxing Day when we were poor against Shrewsbury. Take nothing away from our visitors, a side I expect to finish in the top three, but we didn’t look like breaking them down and were a shadow of our usual selves. We had been on a decent run but we have to know what we are going to get every week: consistency is a key part of any good side.

We have improved in that area since the opening few games where we were finding our feet as a unit, but if we are going to push on in the second half of the season then we have to be more consistent, we have to turn draws into wins and we have to remain difficult to beat. I honestly believe that we are on the right road in all three of those areas.

It won’t be easy against Cheltenham. The previous two meetings this season have been close and with it being almost a local derby I expect another hard game this afternoon. However, we want to start the new year as we mean to go on so get behind us, make plenty of noise and let’s start 2015 with three points.


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