FOOTBALL

“We need the points just as much as they do” believes Cheltenham Town’s leading talisman Luke Varney ahead of Notts County clash

Leading scorer Luke Varney insisted that Cheltenham must remain “professional” against bottom side Notts County on Saturday, as they look to extend their unbeaten home run to six games.

The veteran forward only featured for the final 14 minutes of Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Bury and was happy with his involvement despite not starting the game.

Varney has started 21 of the 26 league appearances he’s made for the Robins this season, but the striker says we was pleased to see the impressive performances put in by his fellow strikers in his absence.

“My initial aim was to play as much as I can, but I’ve played more than I thought I would,” said Varney.

“The games I’ve missed out on recently we’ve done well in them; the Cambridge game (a 2-0 win), the point on Tuesday night, it’s brilliant to see we’ve got that for competition for places now.”

The 36-year-old took his tally for the season to 10 goals when he scored the only goal which defeated Port Vale a fortnight ago.

Cheltenham’s reverse fixture against Notts County earlier in the season – which ended in a 3-0 win for the Robins – has proven to be a catalyst in changing their season.

After the reverse win, Michael Duff’s side only lost one of their next nine league games and in-form striker Varney echoed the thought that the reverse fixture was an important part in Cheltenham’s season.

A result which has revitalised the mentality and atmosphere around the squad: “If we look back to the Notts County game away from home, that really kickstarted our season,” continued the former Leeds and Charlton striker.

“Everything’s changed; the mentality around the place, the demands we put on each other, off the staff, training’s been a lot sharper and we’re glad it’s starting to reflect on the pitch now.”

With only one loss in their last 10 league matches, the Robins have certainly turned the Jonny-Rocks Stadium into a fortress under Duff, but Varney was pleased his teammates managed to get a positive result against one of the sides competing for automatic promotion (Bury) on Tuesday.

Despite the midweek result proving to be a morale boost for the side, the experienced striker is aware of the threat posed by Saturday’s visitors after a positive January window for Notts County.

Varney said: “I think our results and performances at home have been great of late.

“Especially with Tuesday night’s game against a top side. People have said we’ve only won the games against the teams around us, but it was good to put that marker down.

“With the signings they (Notts County) made in January we thought that they could be a danger to us at the time because we were a bit closer to the relegation zone.

“We’ll remain professional and we need the points just as much as they do.”

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