Cheltenham Town video: Pack targeting an upturn in form after difficult run
MARLON Pack has admitted he is yet to match the high standards he set for himself last season, but the Cheltenham Town midfielder is confident a run of more consistent form is ahead of him.
The 21-year-old midfielder has become a marked man, receiving extra attention from teams who are now fully aware of his passing ability after he was named in the League Two team of the year last term.
Since the 1-1 draw at Wycombe Wanderers on September 8, when Pack and Darren Carter controlled proceedings from the centre of the pitch, the former Portsmouth man has found the going tough.
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But Pack felt his performance was much-improved in Tuesday's Johnstone's Paint Trophy second-round defeat by Oxford United, when they led 2-1 in the 67th minute before a late collapse saw them go down 4-2.
"I really needed that on Tuesday," Pack said. "I needed a decent performance because things have not been going my way of late.
"I was happy with my performance and I felt I was getting back to what I do best.
"I enjoyed it and hopefully it can be a stepping stone for me and give me some confidence.
"I have no excuses and I am my own worst critic, but since Wycombe, we've had some scrappy games and not played the best football, but I should still be playing to the best of my ability.
"I have to stay patient, keep my head up and I need consistency now."
Pack is fully aware that Cheltenham will not always be able to produce to brand of attractive passing football boss Mark Yates wants them to play.
But he knows he must continue to work on other aspects of his game, when they are forced to roll up their sleeves and grind out results.
"I experienced it a lot last season and you are not gong to have it all your own way in League Two," Pack said.
"When things come your way you have to make sure you are on it.
"At Bristol Rovers I felt I did more off the ball than on it.
"I know I can deliver, but all footballers go through these kind of stages.
"I just have to kick on now and start the season again."
Pack formed an effective deep-lying midfield partnership with Luke Summerfield last season, but Cheltenham lost the ex-Plymouth man to Shrewsbury in the summer.
Former Birmingham City and West Brom star Carter has arrived on a six-month deal and Pack believes the pair are capable of forming an equally successful understanding.
"Summers and I did well with in there last season, but Darren has come in and won the player of the month award for September, scored three goals and shown he is a great addition," Pack said.
"I think they are quite similar players and it's down to me how I play, not anyone else.
"It's about my ability and how I go about the game, but I can learn from Darren and the longer he is here the better.
"It may take time for us to build a partnership, but regardless of who else is in there it's down to me how I perform."
Pack was part of the Cheltenham team beaten 4-1 at Wimbledon last season.
He was involved in the Robins' late consolation goal, scored by Darryl Duffy after a cross from Danny Andrew.
"Wimbledon will be tough and they've just appointed a new manager," Pack said.
"We have to go there and get a result. We performed quite well in first half last season but ended up getting a trouncing, so we owe them one and we want to give it back to them on Saturday."