By Will Butcher
FOREST GREEN midfielder Darren Carter is unwavering in his belief that his side can win the Vanarama National League this season, ahead of this weekend’s top-of-the-table El Glosico.
Rovers face Cheltenham Town on Saturday at Whaddon Road in what could be considered an early promotion six-pointer, with five points separating second from third.
The ex-Robins man, who will be making the 20-mile trip across Gloucestershire to face his former side, believes that despite the increased importance of the fixture, it won’t be the determining factor come the end of the season.
“I think we can win the title this year,” he said. “We’ve got a really confident group of lads, a very good set of players and a squad that could challenge in a league higher than this one and we want to be able to do that.
“There’s a gap emerging at the top between us and third (Eastleigh) but in the grand scheme of things it’s not going to make the world of difference; there’s plenty of time before now and the end of the season. It’s not the be all and end all.”
The 31-year-old has starred for his new club after dropping down to the fifth tier for the first time in his career this season, most recently orchestrating a three-goal comeback against Dover, scoring from 25 yards out for the second.
But for the former Birmingham City and West Brom man, getting back into the Football League is of vital importance.
“We feel if we can give 100 per cent then we’ll be up there at the end, but we know if we want the right to win it then we have to earn it on the pitch and in training,” Carter said.
“We’ve got a group of lads who are willing to do that; we’ll work as hard as we can and leave all our effort out on the pitch to be in with a shout. We’ve shown already this season that we definitely have the ingredients to win the league, if we can remain consistent and keep the work ethic high.”
And with the league in both teams’ sights, the rivalry is at its fiercest; bragging rights are more precious than ever but no-one knows more so than Carter, who has taken to the pitch for both sides.
He added: “For both sets of fans it’s a great spectacle, the bragging rights are up for grabs and the fact that both teams are vying for the same thing makes it all the more important. We’re both trying to get back into the Football League so it’s obviously going to set up that rivalry.
“Fan-wise it’s a massive game and it would be great to give the bragging rights to the fans for the week. But come five o’clock we want to be top of the table.”