By Tony Leighton
Cheltenham Town are on the rise and so are the ambitions of midfielder Matt Richards as he sets out twin aims for the rest of the Sky Bet League 2 campaign.
Two seasons ago Richards helped his previous club Shrewsbury Town gain promotion to League 1 and, having switched to Whaddon Road in the summer, he has put promotion for the Robins at the top of his agenda.
And after scoring six goals ahead of the season's half-way stage, the 28-year-old former Ipswich Town and Walsall player is determined to hit double figures for what would be the first time in his playing career.
The last three of his six goals have come in an eight-match unbeaten run and Richards told football-league.co.uk: "I'd love to get into double figures.
"The highest goal tally I've got so far is nine, when I was at Walsall a few seasons ago. I feel that I can get past that this season and it will be a great feeling if I can get 10 or more, but that aim is secondary to winning promotion."
The Robins still have some way to go to put themselves in a position to strike out for a place in the end of term Play-Offs for the third successive season.
They were floundering at the bottom end of the table during a poor first quarter of the season, collecting just 12 points from their first 12 outings.
But that recent eight-match run - three wins and five draws - has lifted them into mid-table and Richards said: "We can definitely challenge for promotion.
"Admittedly, we didn't have the best start to the season, but there were a lot of new players as well as myself at the club and it took us a bit of time to gel.
"But there is real quality in the squad and I knew we would come good. We've played really well over the last couple of months and we would be higher up the table if we'd had a bit more luck in a couple of the games that ended in draws.
"There's a real confidence and belief in the squad now, nobody in League 2 frightens us and we all feel that we can go on climbing the table.
"We're still six points below the Play-Off places, but we're also only seven points off the top three and that's where we want to be come the end of the season.
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