Cheltenham Town video: Confidence on the rise after solid Dons display
NEIL Howarth says last weekend's victory over AFC Wimbledon has worked wonders for Cheltenham Town's confidence ahead of their trip to Scunthorpe United.
The assistant manager was as relieved as anyone to see the Robins keep a clean sheet in their 1-0 success at the Abbey Business Stadium.
As a former defender, Howarth took great pride in last season's total of 20 clean sheets, the highest from any club in League Two.
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That statistic made Cheltenham's leaky start to the new campaign even harder to fathom and they have still conceded more goals than another other team in the division.
But they were altogether more solid against the Dons, paving the way for Jamie Cureton's 94th-minute winner.
"So much of it is about confidence and last week's result has certainly given all the lads a boost," Howarth said.
"They have certainly been lively in training this week and, to be fair, they have been all season.
"But results can instil something in players that you can't manufacture."
Cheltenham will head north today in preparation for their first meeting with Scunthorpe since April 2009.
The Iron were relegated from League One last season and Howarth expects them to be among the frontrunners at the lower level this term.
"It's always hard after a relegation and bouncing back straightaway takes a lot of work, but they have made a decent start," Howarth said.
"I think they will be up there or thereabouts, at least in the play-offs come next May, so we know it'll certainly be a tough task tomorrow."
One player in the Scunthorpe team particularly familiar to Howarth will be striker Chris Iwelumo.
Howarth and boss Mark Yates were both in the line-up the night Iwelumo made his Robins debut on loan from Stoke City in February 2001.
Scotland international Iwelumo scored against Mansfield Town that night, but it was not enough to prevent Steve Cotterill's side slipping to a 2-1 defeat at Field Mill.
"Steve obviously spotted a good young player and he's gone on to have a very impressive career," Howarth said.
"He is a real handful, but he is talented too and his career has shown that with international caps.
"He's coming to the end of his career now, but he still has enough fitness to complement his experience, but Scunthorpe have a number of real threats."
Howarth and Yates have been joining on the backroom team by Dave Kevan, who has been appointed first team coach.
Former Stoke City and Notts County caretaker boss Kevan has made a hugely positive impression already and Howarth said it was valuable to be able to call on his experience.
"We are genuinely delighted to have been able to bring Dave in," Howarth said. "He is so knowledgeable and a good football person.
"He's another pair of hands around the place and he has no pre-conceived ideas about any of the players, so he is basing his opinions on what he sees and it's been great to have a different viewpoint."