PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers vs Barnet
BRSITOL Rovers midfielder Oliver Norburn is relieved to have forced his way into manager John Ward's thoughts.
The former Leicester City youngster looked to have slipped down the pecking order following the arrival of John-Joe O'Toole coupled with the emergence of Seanan Clucas as a regular first-team starter in recent weeks.
Norburn, 20, however, was a surprise inclusion for last weekend's 3-1 success at Rotherham United to start a game for only second time since Ward arrived.
"I've been working hard in training to try and force my way back into the team," said Norburn, who had last started a game in the 2-1 win over Plymouth on New Year's Day.
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"It was a bit of a surprise to be selected after the lads had put on a great performance to win 3-0 Fleetwood.
" I'm really glad to be back in the team and it always helps when you get a good result.
"I hope I've done enough to keep my place for the Barnet game, but all the boys respect the manager's decisions over which team he picks and just get on with it."
Six arrivals over the duration of the transfer window have certainly offered Ward selection dilemmas to contend with ahead of tonight's clash against relegation rivals Barnet at the Memorial Stadium.
Norburn, pictured, said: "There is competition now, but that is good.
"It is important to know that whoever plays is capable of going out and do a good job for us."
Rovers, meanwhile, could lift themselves out of the League Two relegation zone for the first time in over two months if they could secure a victory against Edgar Davids' fellow relegation-threatened side.
Impressive performances at both Fleetwood and Rotherham added to the fact that Rovers play in front of their home fans for the first time in a month, however, brings added pressure into the mix.
"The two results at Rotherham and Fleetwood have been great and now we need to try and do it at the Memorial Stadium in front of our home fans," Norburn added.
"It is a massive game, but we won't be dwelling on that.
"We'll just go out and try to play the same way as we have in the last couple of games.
"If anything, playing at home in front of our own fans will work in our favour.
"The home crowd will be behind us and we are enjoying the games more because we are winning."
Ward will be hoping to see his side extend a run of form that has seen his side collect ten points from a possible 15 since Mark McGhee was relieved of his duties on December 17.
Norburn said: "We have been a bit unfortunate in that results elsewhere have gone against us to leave us still in the bottom two.
"That's the way it goes sometimes and that shows you can only concentrate on your own games.
"If we keep playing the way we are playing then we give ourselves the best chance.
"I think everyone has just rolled their sleeves up and has been working really hard in training.
"We're just hoping we can now string together a few results to get out of that relegation zone and to really kick on."