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Neil Howarth: We're ready to kick on now after deadline day business

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 05, 2013

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THE victory over Torquay at the weekend was a good end to a very good week's work.

With Thursday being the transfer deadline day, we were hopeful that there was probably going to be a few comings and goings through the doors at the Abbey Business Stadium.

We had been lucky enough to make some money on the FA Cup run we had this season, including a couple of live television games.

But without knowing how much of this was available to put towards the playing budget and how much was needed elsewhere within the finances of the club, I wasn't certain who we would be able to add to the squad of players we already had to kick on for the rest of the season.

However, once we had identified who we wanted to bring to the club and presented this list to the board of directors, for them to have released the funds to proceed with the signings shows the ambition we have here at the club.

Before the game against Torquay on Saturday we were very healthily placed in the league and ready to kick on for the remainder of the season.

With the additions we were able to make to the squad, complementing our already talented squad of players, we are now doubly focused on the remaining games of the season.

We were able to sign Jason Taylor and Byron Harrison permanently, from Rotherham and AFC Wimbledon respectively, while we have acquired Michael Hector and Paul Benson on a loan basis with a view to them helping us to achieve what we want to this season.

In addition to Luke McCullough, who we were able to sign the previous week, we have certainly strengthened the squad.

I managed to get home for about tea time on Thursday when it looked as though any business that may or may not happen was as good as done.

It was gone midnight when the gaffer and club secretary Paul Godfrey finally got home, but I'm sure the hard work they put in to get the deals through will prove worthwhile.

While we were able to bring in those players it was also time to say thanks and goodbye to a couple of lads who have played a very important role in our improvement over the last couple of seasons.

Jeff Goulding, on his day, was as good as anyone in our division.

His shot that hit the underside of the bar at Wembley would have put have put Nick Powell's at the other end in the shade.

I'm not sure where Jeff's next club will be but I genuinely wish him all the best for the future.

Alan Bennett was our skipper that day and he had led the lads from the front all season.

I remember consoling him on the pitch after our play-off loss and seeing a man of his stature with tears in his eyes was so moving.

I believe he is to see the remainder of the season out at AFC Wimbledon and I really do thank him for the efforts he put in for our club.

While our new arrivals signify the future of the club, on Tuesday, when we welcome Bristol Rovers to the Abbey Business Stadium, we will see the return of one of our most popular and successful managers to have been in the hotseat at Whaddon Road.

John Ward returns with his new team and since his arrival they have seen a big upturn in their fortunes.

While I'm sure John will propel his team away from the relegation zone and up the table, it is up to us to put a dent in his team's improvement.

The atmosphere will be great, the away end will be full and we have the opportunity to consolidate our third place in the league.

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