Cheltenham Town: Skipper apologises after Rochdale drubbing
SKIPPER Alan Bennett issued an apology to Cheltenham Town's travelling fans after the 4-1 humiliation at Rochdale on Friday night.
With the rest of the weekend's League Two programme severely hit by the wet weather, Cheltenham remain in the top three.
But Bennett knows they will need to show a marked improvement against his former club Wycombe Wanders on Boxing Day if they are to extend their stay in the automatic promotion places.
The Irishman said the players fully accepted boss Mark Yates' decision to cancel their days off over Christmas.
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"We've definitely got to take that decision because it was a very bad day and we are all bitterly disappointed," Bennett said.
"I'd like to apologise to the fans who made the trip to Rochdale because they deserve better than that.
"They had countless efforts on goal and if it wasn't for Scott Brown in goal we'd have lost by a much heavier margin.
"I am shell-shocked, to be honest, as well as being angry and disappointed."
Bennett was keen to stress that Cheltenham remain well positioned to challenge for automatic promotion halfway through their League Two campaign.
"We have to stick together and it's a bad end to the year, but overall the year's been pretty good for us so we have to look at the bigger picture," he said.
"It's up to the more experienced players like myself, Stevie (Elliott) and Billy (Jones) to keep spirits high and take a step back because it's not all doom and gloom.
"Friday was bad, but we have to take it on the chin, regroup and stick together.
"I'd have taken this position at the start of the season and we have two games in quick succession coming up.
"The aim is to consolidate our position in the top three now."
Bennett denied claims that Cheltenham's forthcoming televised FA Cup third-round tie against Everton had affected their approach to League matches.
"I can understand why people may think that, but Everton has hardly been mentioned by the lads and I don't think that's been a factor," he said.
"We are all determined to put it right and we have to regroup and get back on track quickly ready for Wycombe and Bristol Rovers."