Town Boss Keith Downing On Tonight

Last updated : 25 January 2008 By Thetashkentterror
Keith Downing
Robins manager Keith Downing spoke to the official Cheltenham website ahead of the game against Carlisle, Downing obviously mentioning the return of former Town boss, and current United manager, John Ward to Whaddon Road this evening :

"It's been a busy month, we started very early by getting the two Bristol City boys in and the team has really progressed from there. I haven't stopped working because we've been getting results but with one or two coming back from injury we will be stronger as well. It's been busy but there will be one or two more calls and I'm sure it will be a frantic last week of the transfer window.

"I have not yet spoken to Blackpool about Michael D'Agostino. The last game of his loan is against Millwall next week so I'll look at that on Monday or Tuesday. Michael has done very well for us and continues to progress and I think he's thoroughly enjoyed it. I would like to keep the two Bristol City boys (Steve Brooker and Alex Russell) for as long as possible but that's really down to Gary Johnson and to the players themselves.

"In terms of signing players, a lot of the things you try to do are dependent on other clubs and whether they get the players they want or whether they sell or buy. I find it really hectic and I'm not sure if there are too many transfers going on at this time of year. There are a lot of inflated prices around and we are very aware not to get caught in an auction because things settle down in the summer and those targets can be re-visited. I'm conscious of trying to improve the squad and I'm not sitting on my laurels just because we have won three games.

"Our defensive record has improved over the last few weeks. I think we'd like to score a few more but that reassurance that we are solid at the back, as a team and not just the back four and goalkeeper, has given us a good platform to recover. We started really well at Hartlepool and the performance in the first 45 minutes was as good as I've seen since I've been in charge fully. I'm looking for more of the same and hopefully we can set out those intentions from the first whistle.

"Carlisle have been strong at home and not so clever away but there is a reason why they are third in the league. They are very well organised, as you would expect from one of John's teams, and they have some good front players with a real threat and it will be a stern test for us. Carlisle have signed Scott Dobie, who is a quality player we were interested in three or four months ago, so their intent is there and their clear aim is to get into the Championship.

"There are a lot of players itching to get back into the team and one or two coming back from injury but if you are asking players to put a run of form together and be consistent then chop and change the team you are going against what you are preaching. The players have the shirts from the last three games and if we win games that is what will happen.

"Last weekend the results went our way but there are 20 odd games left and a lot of hard work still to be done. But we've managed to instill a bit of self-belief which we've not had at times this season. We're all looking forward to the game hugely. I hope there will be a good crowd and another good atmosphere and we will be doing our best to continue the recent improvement."