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Cheltenham Town: Captain Penn has tried to lead the side by example

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 25, 2013

Russ Penn

Russ Penn

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RUSS Penn says he has been honoured to lead Cheltenham Town in their last two matches.

The whole-hearted midfielder has been handed the armband in the absence of regular skipper Alan Bennett, who has been given a breather by boss Mark Yates.

While Keith Lowe has filled in well for Bennett at centre-half, Penn's fine run of form has been rewarded with the captaincy.

"I have loved it of course," Penn said.

"The gaffer asked me to take on the extra responsibility a couple of games ago and I gladly accepted it.

"It was a great honour to lead the team and it's something I've always wanted to do in the past."

Penn said the role does not have any impact on how he goes about his business on the pitch, but it has put an extra spring in his step.

"It doesn't change what I do really and I just play my normal game," he said.

"I always try to lead by example anyway, but it's good to get the recognition.

"The gaffer has changed things up and I am thankful he wants me to lead the team out."

If tonight's match against Rochdale survives the freezing weather conditions, Penn said Cheltenham have some unfinished business with Rochdale, who thrashed them 4-1 at Spotland just before Christmas.

"We have a lot to put right tomorrow night and we particularly want to do it for our fans who travelled up there, but for ourselves too," Penn said.

"That night we let the manager, the fans and ourselves down, so we are looking forward to turning it around now."

Penn is midway through his second season with Cheltenham and he believes he is playing his best football since arriving from Burton Albion.

Yates has described the 27-year-old as having "the bit between his teeth" in recent weeks.

"I think I am probably playing as well as I have done since joining Cheltenham," he said.

"It's nice for the manager to say things like that and I am just full of confidence at the moment.

I go out and give it my all, as I always do, but it seems to be paying off at the moment.

"I feel more comfortable now with the lads and the surroundings and it's all clicking into place."

With the Abbey Business Stadium pitch still under snow last night and a hard overnight frost expected, tonight's match may be rescheduled to Tuesday night, with warmer temperatures expected.

But Penn said every player must prepare properly and assume the game is going ahead.

"There is no other way you can do it," he said.

"We are all pros and we've all been in the game a long time so we have to expect the match to be played.

"Not many people expected last Friday's match at Morecambe to go ahead, but it did and we ground out a good point."

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