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Sorry Rovers, but we need the points too

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: December 29, 2012

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Cheltenham Town defender Steve Elliott will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of victories over former club Bristol Rovers this afternoon.

The Robins have won on their last two visits to the Memorial Stadium, with ex-Rovers man Chris Zebroski netting the winner in this season's meeting.

But the Pirates shocked Cheltenham with a 2-0 success at the Abbey Business Stadium just under a year ago in what was Mark McGhee's first match in charge.

It proved to be a rare high point in McGhee's short-lived spell with the Scot sacked earlier this month after a dismal first half to the campaign, leaving John Ward to pick up the reins with the club bottom of the Football League.

Bristol-based Elliott is always guaranteed a rousing reception from the Rovers fans, who clearly appreciate his efforts during a six-year spell prior to joining Cheltenham in 2010.

The 34-year-old described wins over the Gas as "bittersweet" – but said he will show no sympathy towards Rovers' plight at the bottom of League Two as Cheltenham bid to continue their impressive home form today.

"I am very grateful to the Rovers fans for the reception they've given me, but the most important thing this afternoon is us picking up three points," Elliott said.

"I enjoy winning any game and love playing in derby games, but beating Rovers is bittersweet because I have to go back to Bristol and see a few mates who aren't best pleased!"

With the season just passing the halfway stage, Elliott believes Cheltenham are perfectly positioned to kick on and finish in a top-three berth that would secure promotion to League One – something he achieved via the play-offs with Rovers at Wembley in 2007.

"We are in the top three, which is where we want to be and it's been a decent season, but we have not played as well as last season," he said.

"Last year we had 50 points after 25 games and we can get to 45 this year if we win against Rovers. But Swindon were on 45 after 25 games last year and they went on to win the title, so I don't see why the quality in the squad can't see us through.

"Consistency is the aim and we have to keep the points ticking over and avoid what happened last March happening again, when we picked up two points from a possible 21."

Rovers will look to build on gritty performance that secured a point at Aldershot on Boxing Day at Cheltenham this afternoon.

Boss Ward, who returns to a former club today, said: "Cheltenham are flying high so it will be a tough game, but if we show the same approach and attitude as we did at Aldershot, then we give ourselves every chance of coming away with a favourable result."

The pitch at Cheltenham was deemed playable yesterday, but groundstaff are concerned about the heavy rain forecast from 5am to 1pm today.

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