Aidy Boothroyd says he identified today’s game against Cheltenham Town as the ideal barometer of his team’s progress when the fixture list was released in June.
The Robins go into the weekend game third in npower League Two and among the contenders for promotion this season.
Boothroyd’s team have lost their past two games but were in superb form prior to that, winning three on the spin, a run of results that has put them within three points of the play-off places.
“I’m really looking forward to our game on Saturday and getting back to the league campaign,” said Boothroyd, who also confirmed Luke Guttridge will return to training ‘within a month’.
“I looked at this game on the fixture list and thought, Cheltenham at home in early December, would be a good benchmark.
“I like Mark Yates, he’s a top-three manager and this will be a test for us to see how serious we are about being successful.
“We’ll give them a game and see how we go because we’ve proved this season that we are capable of competing with, and beating, any team.”
Boothroyd has a number of selection issues for this afternoon, with Chris Hackett and Lewis Hornby likely to be recalled in midfield after both started Wednesday night’s loss to Orient in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on the bench.
The manager will also have to decide how to use Ishmel Demontagnac, who he feels has started to show glimpses of his true ability.
“I don’t think he’s lazy, far from it, I just think in the past he has perhaps lacked a focus in games sometimes and has got himself caught out by poor starting positions,” he said.
“In the past few games he has really started to step up and do what we’re asking of him. I’m sure he’s going to become a key player for us.”
Kick-off at Sixfields this afternoon is at 3pm, and you can follow the game via Twitter @chronsport and @jeffersonlake