A long and focussed week at the training ground has given Charlie Clough and his Forest Green Rovers teammates plenty of preparation time for this weekend’s long trip north to Gateshead.
With Rovers in action last Friday, and with no midweek games to contend with, the squad have had a full week of training to get set for another crucial fixture on Tyneside this weekend.
A narrow defeat against Grimsby in front of the BT Sport cameras at The New Lawn last week ended FGR’s magnificent home winning and all round unbeaten run.
So Clough and his colleagues have drawn on the positives of extra time at the training ground ahead of this Saturday’s fixture.
“We got given the weekend off to give the lads time to think about Friday and rest their legs up,” he explained.
“We’ve trained hard this week and it has been good. We’re training tomorrow on a Friday and will then travel up to Gateshead.
“The lads are ready. They’ve looked good in training and it has been good.”
Rovers are well in touch of top spot after Cheltenham rescued a point late on against Welling United at Park View Road.
Heading into the last nine games it’s sure to be an exciting race to the finish and the mood in the camp is as good as it has been at any point this season.
“I’ve said all along that we don’t need to worry about their results but that obviously made what happened on Friday night a bit better even though we don’t like to lose,” Clough added.
“The atmosphere is good and we’re all very upbeat and confident. If we get a result Saturday then Friday is forgotten about and we can kick on from there and start another unbeaten run. We’ve got nine big games to go.
“There’s loads of football to be played still. Nine games mean there are a lot of points.”
The experience garnered last season from the battle to secure a place in the play-offs is sure to stand this FGR side in good stead, and Clough admits he’s happy to be in a position where there is something to fight for.
“A bit of nervous energy is not bad, but I think everyone in general are enjoying it. It’s better to be at this end of the table.
“Some teams now are playing for nothing with nine games to go. But we’re playing to get promoted to the next league, which is what we want to do.
“We’re all on the same wavelength what we do at this club and we want to get promoted.”
An injury picked up in the semi-finals of last year’s play-off games against Bristol Rovers frustratingly saw the ex-Sutton United centre back held back at the start of the current campaign.
He took time to get his place back in Ady Pennock’s back four. But since earning his position back alongside Aarran Racine, he hasn’t looked back.
“It’s good to play every week and I like to think I’m an important part. I’ve worked hard to get where I am now because of the injury and because I didn’t play for the first part of the season,” he continued.
“It was frustrating but I like being in the team every week and there’s nothing better than playing football every week.”