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VIDEO: Belief is returning - Buckle

14 December 2014

Paul Buckle said he celebrated Zack Kotwica’s spectacular equaliser at Mansfield Town more than any of the goals he scored during his own playing days.

The Robins boss had seen his side fall behind to Vadaine Oliver’s 30 yard strike 10 minutes into the second half.

But teenage substitute Kotwica smashed in his first goal for the club with three minutes left to send the 155 travelling fans home happy.

“I flew off the bench when the goal went in, I was in midair!” Buckle said. “I celebrated that one more than when I scored a goal myself.

“With all the teams I have managed, it’s been about bringing young players through and we need to do that here at Cheltenham because the budget isn’t as big as most of the other clubs in this division.”

Buckle unleashed Kotwica, Omari Sterling-James and Andy Haworth after Cheltenham conceded at Field Mill and he emphasised the need for his flair players to show him they can also do their defensive duties if they are to force their way into the starting XI.

“Players like Zack and Andy need to learn the other side of it,” he said. “I always felt we’d get back into the game and I had a ‘plan B’.

“The boys going on shows the importance of the whole squad and I want everyone to be able to come on and play. Saturday should give everyone belief.”

Buckle said his first job had to be tightening up a defence which had shipped 13 goals in four League Two matches before he arrived.

“That’s the third game I’ve had where we’ve been 0-0 at half-time, which for me represents huge success in terms of the goals we had been letting in prior to be coming in,” he said.

“We showed two ways of playing on Saturday and I want to move towards the second way, but I had to look at the defensive side first.

“We have to build on this now and we are going to train and train and train and I don’t want players turning up at 9.57am, I want them coming in early and working hard day-in day-out.”

Buckle said the decision to leave midfielder Jason Taylor out of the match day squad was purely tactical, with Joe Hanks preferred in the centre of the pitch.

He also thanked the travelling Robins fans, who backed their team throughout on a freezing afternoon.

“I am so pleased for the fans because I looked over at them and even when we were 1-0 down they were backing us, so I thank every one of them that travelled,” he said.

“We showed our appreciation and went over to them because we know the money they are spending to watch us. They were excellent.”

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