Cheltenham Town video: Elliott feeling refreshed and ready for his return
STEVE Elliott says he was forced to reluctantly accept Cheltenham Town boss Mark Yates' decision to take him out of the team for the last two matches.
The experienced defender suffered a dip in form and was dropped for the matches against AFC Wimbledon and Scunthorpe United, with Troy Brown and James Wilson preferred at centre-half.
But loan signing from Bristol City Wilson's international call-up for Wales has opened the way for Elliott to reclaim his starting place at Dagenham and Redbridge tomorrow (3pm).
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It was the first time Elliott had been dropped in more than three years at Cheltenham.
"It probably was the right time for me to have a break and a rest," Elliott said.
"I have worked hard in training, but the gaffer has also pulled me back a bit and I am feeling refreshed, fit and ready to go on Saturday if I am involved.
"Maybe I needed a mental and a physical rest because the amount of games I've played over the last few seasons might have caught up with me a little bit, but I feel fine now.
"All I am doing is concentrating on Dagenham and if selected, I will be ready to do my job."
While he was out of the side, Elliott took the opportunity to offer support to his team-mates, giving advice and encouragement before and during the two matches, which resulted in a 1-0 win over Wimbledon and a 2-0 defeat at Scunthorpe.
"The gaffer took me to one side and I have full respect for him," Elliott said.
"He has a tough enough job without players moaning at him, so I had to accept it was probably the right time and my role changed to more of a supporting one for Troy and James."
Brown and Elliott spent most of pre-season playing together in the middle, but their partnership was interrupted by a hamstring injury to Brown at Accrington Stanley on August 24 – the fifth goal of the season.
They have not played together since, with Brown's return to action coinciding with Elliott's breather.
"Troy and I started the season together but these things happen in football with injuries and the team being changed around," Elliott said.
"He's right-footed and I am left-footed, so I think that gives us balance and if we are picked to start on Saturday I am sure we can carry on where we left off at Accrington (with a clean sheet)."
Elliott has played at Dagenham twice for Cheltenham before, enjoying a 5-0 success there two years ago before last season's 1-0 setback.
"It's never an easy going to Dagenham, especially after they've had a good win at Southend (5-2 in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy) in midweek to give them confidence," Elliott said.
"We have to be positive, concentrate on trying to keep a clean sheet and then see if we can nick a result.
"It'll be a tough one, but we are capable of getting a result, there is no doubt about that.
"I am a big believer that if you work hard enough you'll get your rewards."