Robins fan Will Edden discusses Cheltenham's start to the new season in official blog.It feels like a long time since all has seemed well at Whaddon Road writes Will Edden.
But after a positive start to the new campaign, it feels like the air of discontent that swirled around the stadium for much of last year has been replaced with a sense of calm and – whisper it quietly – optimism.
Last season the stands felt mutinous, the defence felt brittle, and the team were more prone to collapsing than the Indian batting order. However after two solid home performances and a battling win away at Bury, it would appear that a more defensive and a more workmanlike Cheltenham Town side is in it's infancy.
Mark Yates' side has a new found energy and determination that typifies a more industrious Robins than we saw last season and this has been embodied by the new signings made so far this summer. In my time watching Cheltenham Town I've been lucky enough to see some great goalkeepers play for the club. Steve Book, Shane Higgs, Jack Butland and of course Scott Brown have all etched their names into the Robins history books and after a very promising start to his Cheltenham career, one would hope Trevor Carson can join that illustrious list. With two clean sheets, some brilliant saves and a superb assist for the winner against Accrington, Carson has more than helped to ease the pain of Brown's departure to Aberdeen.
Of the other new boys, wing-back Lee Vaughan and the new captain Matt Taylor look like shrewd signings. In League Two we need players who aren't afraid to get stuck in and go into battle for the team. Yates said after the Carlisle game that it was a game we would have lost last season and I wasn't the only fan thinking the same after Tuesday evening's 0-0 draw. In Carson, Taylor and Vaughan we have three players who have helped to tighten up the worst home defence in League Two in 2013-14 and who will give their all for the shirt.
And the positive influence of these new signings – coupled with the addition of Shaun North to the coaching set up – seems to have rubbed off on the rest of the club and given everyone a real boost. After an unhappy end to last season preceded Jason Taylor being transfer listed by the club, I for one thought we'd seen the last of the crunching midfielder in a red and white shirt. In fact, I'd have said there was more chance of Gloucester finding their own stadium than Taylor playing for us this season. I'm happy to admit however I was wrong on this one. The Yorkshireman looks rejuvenated in the middle of the park, snapping into tackles and proving a real nuisance to opponents. Along with Carson and Steve Elliott I'd go as far to say that he's been one of our best players.
Along with Jason Taylor, Matt Richards and Craig Braham-Barrett look to have had a new lease of life and both look revitalised after difficult starts to their Robins careers. Local lad Joe Hanks is another who has caught the eye in the opening games and it's great to see a young player who's come up through the ranks getting – and taking – his chance in the starting 11. For a 19-year-old he looks very composed on the ball, always making himself available to receive possession and once he get's used to the rigours of the Football League I can see him playing a big part this season.
With the squad seemingly gelling well and three decent results in the league equalling our joint best start to a League Two season, we can hopefully look forward to a more enjoyable campaign this time around. We look capable of keeping clean sheets, we have Asa Hall to return from injury and it looks from Yates' recent press calls that one or two more bodies should be added before the transfer window 'slams' shut. It's also worth remembering that we already have two wins from three games – it took us nine games to do that last season – things are looking up!