A trip to Swindon might look tough on paper – just don’t go telling Craig Westcarr.
Mark Cooper’s Robins are unbeaten at the County Ground, have taken 16 points from a possible 18 and won their last four games. But Westcarr insists there is nothing for the Saddlers to fear and a quick glance at their own statistics proves his point.
Dean Smith’s side have lost only once on their travels, at Brentford, while they have also won at Wolves and became the first team to take points off Leyton Orient despite playing most of the game with 10 men.
It’s little wonder the striker is in such bullish mood.
“When you work as hard as we do every day in training, when there is a good spirit and we know the way we want to play then there is nothing to fear,” said Westcarr.
“We know when it does click, as it has done in recent weeks, we can beat anyone. We aren’t going into games thinking ‘we could get done today’ or anything like that.
“Whether we win, lose or draw everyone is positive and it’s a good vibe to have.”
Westcarr is currently the club’s top scorer and notched his sixth goal of the season in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Stevenage, a result which ended the Saddlers’ search for a home win and temporarily took the focus away from the forward line.
Calls for Smith to sign a central striker had reached a crescendo after the 1-1 draw at Colchester. Westcarr says he was unaware of the criticism aimed at the front-line.
“I always think tunnel vision, I wasn’t aware of it really,” he said.
“I can probably agree with people who say I’m not an out-an-out target man, which is fair enough. But the gaffer is great, he believes in what he’s got and he believes in a certain way of playing. He’s getting the best out of what he’s got and getting the best out of me.
“I just think we have been really unlucky in some of the games.
“At the end of the day we have a way of playing and it worked against Stevenage. When it does work we get great results. As I said, we have just been unlucky so it’s more of an issue if you don’t win.
“But the goals will come. The season isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
Tonight’s game kicks-off a run of four games against sides who are likely to be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
Coventry visit the Banks’s on Saturday with their memory of their minus 10-point start already distant, while a visit to MK Dons proceeds a televised meeting with Peterborough. The next month could indicate where this season might be heading and Westcarr is relishing the challenges ahead.
“These are the games you want to play in, the ones you look forward to,” he added. “We will go into these with confidence and thinking we can get a result, which we definitely can.
“It is always nice to beat people in and around you. Definitely these next two, Swindon and Coventry, will be up there at the end.”
Smith switched formations to 4-4-1-1 against Stevenage, handing Romaine Sawyers his first start in almost a month as Nicky Featherstone dropped to the bench.
Sawyers repaid the manager with a goal but Smith may be tempted to return to the three man midfield which has served his side so well on their travels in recent weeks.
Swindon’s former AFC Telford boss Mark Cooper expects defender Nathan Thompson to recover from the illness which forced him off during the Robins 2-0 win over Notts County on Friday night.