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Gaffer: We must keep building for the future

19 April 2018

Manager Gary Johnson is determined to keep learning about his players in the final three games of the season as he looks to build for the 2018/19 campaign.

The Robins head to Cambridge United and the Abbey Stadium on Saturday in Sky Bet League Two (kick-off 3pm).

Cheltenham will be looking to bounce back immediately after the disappointment of derby day defeat last weekend.

Johnson has no doubt about the effort put in by his side last week but admits it was ultimately a hugely disappointing result that the Robins need to respond to.

“We have a group who will never go out and not try,” said Johnson. “Their personalities are such that it would very difficult for them to go out and not try. I would see it quite early as well.

“I tried to build the game up as a play-off game as I wanted to see how some of our lads would have coped if it was a play-off game, or final.

“I learned a bit about two or three of them of course, but on the day both teams are trying to stop the opposition playing.

“Tactically we are trying to do things to them and they are trying to do things to us and sometimes you lose 1-0. I was as disappointed as everybody else, absolutely, but there are still positives to build on.

“I have mentioned it a couple of times, but we are in the top five in terms of goalscoring, so we know if we can keep the lads who are scoring goals and creating goals, we’ll be all right with that.

“We have to improve a bit on not conceding goals of course, which helps you when you are looking at who you are going to have to bring in and what you are going to have to do.

“Sometimes people watch Liverpool versus Man United on a Friday and then watch a League Two game and sometimes it’s a bit different, with not as much quality, but all teams in League Two and League One, even in the Championship, have that inconsistency. 

“This level there is inconsistency from players, whether it’s due to lack of experience, or people not quite being able to do it, and then you have to move them on and bring people in who can. So we are generally building.”

Meanwhile, Johnson admits he will be operating with a slightly smaller squad in the coming weeks as players finalise their futures.

“As you get nearer to the end of the season and players know they aren’t in our plans, which means your squad is slightly smaller in terms of numbers,” he said.

“That’s what happens and Fulham had asked to take back Elijah (Adebayo) to play in a couple of their reserve games or Under-23 games, which is what we allowed them to do as he wasn’t going to be in our first team. If they are not playing here we allow them to go back.

“Bristol City wanted to play Taylor (Moore) this week so we allowed him to play a game there and that’s what happens with loans.

“Your numbers do deplete, with different reasons for players not being available, but that’s what I’ve had to deal with in the last 30 years of management.”

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