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Cheltenham Town video: Homeward bound Hector seeking his first shut-out

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

Michael Hector

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SATURDAY's trip to Dagenham and Redbridge will feel like a home game for Cheltenham Town loan defender Michael Hector.

The Reading centre-half was born just down the road in East Ham, and he is hoping to be able to return to his family after the game with a first clean sheet under his belt in Robins colours.

The mobile and athletic Hector has been impressive in both of his appearances so far, but late goals have denied him a shut out.

Torquay United scored in the 88th minute to set up a tense finish last Saturday, but Cheltenham held on to win 2-1.

That was followed by Bristol Rovers' spectacular 95th minute leveller on Tuesday night, denying Hector maximum points at the start of his time at Cheltenham.

The 20-year-old took the sponsors' man of the match award Champagne, but he said he would have swapped it for a clean sheet and three points.

"What happened at the end of the game was heart-breaking really and the lads were gutted in the dressing room," Hector said.

"But the manager (Mark Yates) said that on Thursday we must come in with smiles on our faces and kick on for Saturday.

"I went to Dagenham with Barnet last season and it isn't the nicest place to go. It's my local League Two club really and only around the corner from my house, but West Ham is a bit closer.

"Hopefully I can pop home for tea after the game with three points and a clean sheet!"

Hector said he cannot fail to learn from playing alongside a central defender of Steve Elliott's experience.

"Steve was joking in the shower after Tuesday's game, saying he could play to 40 if I was alongside him," Hector said.

"But I have enjoyed playing alongside someone of his experience because he talks throughout the game and it's brilliant to learn from someone like him who has been there and done it at the top level."

Hector has signed for an initial month with Cheltenham, but after battling in the lower reaches of the League One and League Two tables with Barnet, Shrewsbury Town and Aldershot in previous loan spells, he is keen to remain at Whaddon Road for the rest of the campaign.

"It's a different type of pressure at the top, but I am enjoying it," he said.

"It's obviously a good team here to be near the top of the table and hopefully we can win promotion.

"Nothing has been said yet, but if I play well hopefully I can stay for the rest of the season."

Hector said he thrived in the atmosphere of Tuesday night's derby draw, with nearly 1,500 Rovers fans making plenty of noise.

"The Cheltenham fans responded well to it, but the Rovers fans were good and it was tough in the second half dealing with that behind you," he said.

"But I enjoyed it and it's good for me because I can learn from it and that's what coming out on loan is all about.

"I felt a bit nervous against Torquay, but after about 20 minutes I settled down and felt I did well.

"Reading have been sending someone to watch me and hopefully they've been giving me good reports. It's all experience and learning to become a better player in the future."

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