'Dartford draw proved a point to the doubters'
DAVE Hockaday has challenged his Forest Green players to keep hold of a play-offs berth until the end of the Blue Square Bet Premier season.
Rovers host Stockport County tomorrow (3pm) after registering their first league victory in five attempts at Dartford in midweek.
The match, which saw both sides reduced to ten men inside 18 minutes, was far from the prettiest of a campaign that began so promisingly for the side from the New Lawn.
Yet Hockaday was proud of the mettle shown, and believes the result proved a point to any doubters inside or outside the confines of the club.
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He said: "Dartford is a tough place to come, and it was doubly tough after winning there in the FA Cup.
"But we won ugly, having played some super stuff in the previous four games and got no rewards for it.
"I had a feeling we would get a result like that, which was all about hanging tough, and three points and a clean sheet have put us back in the play-off positions.
"That's where was want to stay now. I have no doubts we can do that and neither should the players."
The only blot on a satisfying night in Kent was the dismissal of Jamie Turley for an off-the-ball spat with Lee Noble.
Rovers' right-back was shown a straight red card by referee Nick Kinseley, three minutes after the hosts' Harry Crawford had received the same punishment for a lunge on Aarran Racine.
Hockaday felt Turley may have been the victim of pressure from the crowd at Princes Park, but has urged his troops to rise above such provocation in the future.
"I don't think Turley did anything and I'm not sure the officials saw anything, but fair play to the (home) crowd for doing their job," said the Rovers boss.
"I keep on saying it but we just need to learn the game and be cleverer. Their fella (Noble) has come into Turley and gone down, but we should have just walked away and not got involved in any confrontation."
Turley will be suspended for tomorrow's clash against the Hatters, paving the way for Chris Stokes to return at left-back and Ed Asafu-Adjaye to revert to his preferred position on the right.
Striker Reece Styche may also come back into the squad after missing the Dartford win with a back spasm, but midfielder Kieron Forbes (ankle) and forward Ben Wright (knee) remain in the treatment room.
Stockport defeated Barrow 3-1 at Edgeley Park on Tuesday to move up to ninth in the table, six points adrift of Hockaday's outfit.