Forest Green Rovers Academy manager Scott Bartlett believes his side are now getting the rewards for all their hard work following a well-fought 0-0 draw away to Gillingham.
Beaten only once since December, Rovers started off with a few chances in the first half and despite dominating possession, Bartlett said his side had goalkeeper Declan Lehmann to thank, after he pulled off a save that “perhaps he shouldn’t have the right to save.”
“I thought it was a competitive game that lacked a little bit of quality on the day,“ said Bartlett.
“The players are an honest, hardworking group, but I think they would tell you that they were a bit below par today, but not through a want of trying or effort.
“Their levels have been very high recently and they have set a high bar.
“Mark (Cooper) rightly says that if you can’t win a game, for whatever reason, it’s important to draw it and take something.
“Whilst our results don’t mean anything really, the players need to understand the importance of competition and they are starting to do that, to keep a clean sheet and extend our unbeaten run Is pleasing.
“Recently, they’ve been exposed to Mark (Cooper) and Scott Lindsey and also myself, Barks (Chris Barker, Under 18s manager) and Yan (Klukowski), which is obviously great for their development as players and people.”
Forest Green’s youngsters now look to their next game at the Royal Agricultural University against Cambridge United next Friday and Bartlett believes his side are more than ready going into their final two home games of the season and will have some extra time to prepare.
“Our lads have done exceptionally well at college and have completed their education early which is a credit to Vicky (French). That gives us even more time to prepare and also some more flexibility around our timetable,” he added.
“We can train thoroughly on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and enjoy the game against Cambridge fully fit and raring to go.
“This season is probably going to end when we don’t want it to because we’re getting the rewards for all the hard work the boys have put in since July.
“But we’re looking forward to the last two home games against Cambridge and Leyton Orient and also the remaining Central league games which give them an opportunity to develop further.
“The staff are all looking forward to seeing if we can continue this run we’re on.”