John Goddard is thoroughly looking forward to Town’s Derby Day showdown with Bristol Rovers this weekend and he knows full-well the importance of the fixture to the fans and everybody at the club.
Swindon make the short trip to the Memorial Stadium on Saturday (12:30pm) for what is the first of two huge local derby games in as many weeks.
Speaking ahead of the game, Goddard – who has been a key figure for the Reds so far this term with three goals and five assists – is excited about the prospect of strutting his stuff in-front of a bumper crowd and he’s keen to help his side secure both three points and the local bragging rights.
“I’m very excited for Saturday and it is a good one for the boys and the club because we’ve got both derbies back-to-back,” he told swindontownfc.co.uk.
“It is very important that we take them one game at a time and all of our focus is on Bristol Rovers.
“It will be a tough game, there will be a good atmosphere and I know a lot of Swindon fans will be making the journey down the M4, so I’m really looking forward to it.
“When you play at packed grounds, whether they are big or small, there is an extra buzz and Derby Days are a prime example of that.
“There is an extra five or ten percent meaning to the game so although there is only three points at stake, the boys are fully aware of the importance of the game.
“It will be an intimidating atmosphere and I played against Rovers in the Conference a couple of years ago so I know what the ground is like and I’m sure it will be rocking.
“It is up to us to try and dictate the tempo of the game and we’ll be looking to silence the crowd and that is part of our game plan.
“The game deserves a lot of respect and the importance of all the games at the moment is clear to see – we need some points.
“If we can take them off a rival then great but regardless of who we’re playing against we need to get some wins.
“It is important that we play the game and not the occasion and we can’t get too emotional and too wrapped up in the atmosphere. We need to go there, remain calm and if we stick to our game plan then we showed in our last away game that we can get results on the road, it is just a matter of putting those performances on the pitch and doing it on a regular basis.”
Goddard has already pitted his wits against Rovers twice this season and he knows they will be a threat going forward.
“They are a very organised side and the manager there has done fantastically well to guide them to two promotions,” added the midfielder.
“They know exactly what they are doing and they’ve got some lively players going forward.
“The first time we played them this season we were flying and although it was 0-0 I thought we were excellent, but the second time we played them we weren’t up to the levels we needed to be and we got beat.
“It is important we don’t make the same mistake again.
“We need to be right up for the game and that’s not too hard to do when they are derby matches.
“Matt Taylor is a threat, we’ve seen him play and we know about him but it would be silly just to concentrate on him though because they’ve got other good players.
“Like I said, they are well-organised, they know how they want to attack, they defend in numbers and they defend strongly.
“We’re confident we’ll get a result if we play as well as we did against Bolton, it is just about putting that performance on the pitch again, sticking to the game plan and having faith in our own abilities.
“When we’ve done well this season we’ve controlled the tempo of the game and we’ve controlled possession – we’re at our best when we move the ball quickly and we have a lot more movement off the ball.
“The players who have come in recently have helped with that and the movement has been pretty good recently and we’re causing problems like that.
“We need to start fast and hopefully that will work well for us.”
Finally, Goddard has been playing at the tip of a diamond midfield in recent weeks and he’s relishing having two talented players in the ilk of Ben Gladwin and Charlie Colkett sitting in just behind him.
“It has been good and I’ve been a bit unlucky personally because I was watching my video clips the other day and I could have had four or five assists, but we’ve just not managed to put the ball in the net," he continued.
“Personally it has been okay and there are always things to improve on but playing with Charlie and Ben is a pleasure because they are both very good footballers and they have already proven that they can play at a higher level.
“I’m just looking to feed off them, try and get an understanding with them and try and complement each other’s games – there have been signs we can do that.”