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Cheltenham Town: Robins will overpower teams on way to League One - Ward

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

Comments (3)

JOHN Ward fully expects former club Cheltenham Town to win automatic promotion this season.

Bristol Rovers boss Ward made his second return to the Abbey Business Stadium since leaving for Carlisle United in 2007 for Tuesday's night's derby clash.

Cheltenham took the lead in first-half stoppage time through Shaun Harrad and Ward looked set to leave empty handed again before Oliver Norburn crashed in a 95th-minute leveller.

Despite denying Mark Yates' team a chance to close in on second-placed Gillingham, who slipped up at home to Wycombe on Monday night, Ward praised Cheltenham's strength and believes they will be playing League One football next term.

"For us to get a point is a great result and we tried to take the game to a team who I am pretty sure are going to get automatic promotion this season," said Ward, who took Cheltenham into League One via the play-offs in 2006.

"They have recruited extremely well in January and I watched them on Saturday against Torquay and in both games they have shown how strong they are and they will overpower a lot of teams."

Ward picked the strongest team he could in terms of physical presence and he played full-back Danny Woodards out of position on the left wing in a specific ploy to combat the threat of Jermaine McGlashan.

He felt the game plan worked well and said a point was the least Rovers deserved as they made it ten points from a possible 12.

"We have a sign up in our dressing room saying winners don't give in," he said. "We haven't been winners in the past, but we are trying to be now and one thing is certain, we don't give in.

"It was a fantastic goal and I know I am biased, but we didn't deserve to lose the game.

"For us to get the equaliser the way we did means I am going to have to keep taking the heart tablets!"

Rovers were backed by nearly 1,500 supporters at the Abbey Business Stadium and Ward said their noise levels led to the normally subdued home fans making plenty of their own.

"It was a big game and a relatively local one and our fans have turned out in their numbers," he said.

"They provoked the home fans to make a lot of noise because generally they don't at Cheltenham, they are usually a quiet group who watch the game and go home.

"They have responded and both teams responded and I thought it was a cracking game of football in terms of effort and attitude."

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  • CheltRobin  |  February 08 2013, 5:08PM

    Ah yes, well spotted - I blame the iPad I was typing on, must have a default MA setting!! I couldn't give MA praise for anything he did whilst he was in charge!!

  • drewks  |  February 07 2013, 8:42PM

    .....erm CheltRobin....are you singing the praises of MA for his wonderful signings? Nah - obviously you mean MY!!! :) Agree with you though (...apart from THAT!!) - new firepower at JUST the right time to send us (hopefully) into another gear for the rest of the season.

  • CheltRobin  |  February 07 2013, 4:28PM

    Thanks for the kind words John, I still remember at the 1st home match when you took over that you went around the ground, meeting every supporter and chatting to them about what you could do for Chelt Town - and you certainly did a lot! Although it was prob a fair result on Tues, the manner in how we conceded the goal and also that it was scored in "fergie added on time" we're both ver disappointing. Think MY's recruitments have been excellent. Hector sounds dominant in defence (although bit shocked to see Bennett leave), Taylor could be our ultimate midfied enforcer, giving Penn the licence to push forward a be more of the goal threat that he can be (Pack it would seem is leaving the club in the summer anyway, so a decent replacement). Benson and Harrison alongside Duffy and Harrod gives Chelt an attacking lineup that will be the envy of all L2 clubs - the goals should really now to start to fly in, but Mo, McG and Jones need to ensure that they get plenty of decent deliveries into the box to help this along for the remainder of the season. Port Vale maybe starting to stretch their legs, but MA is starting to falter at the GIlls match by match (what a shame eg?!?). There's no reason now that CHelt can't catch and pass the Mad Dog and get promotion automatically. PB and the board have given MA the cash, MA has brought in enough quality players (maybe still Rooney to come??), so now it's down to the players once they cross that white line - COYR!!!

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