A change of manager has created a more united dressing room at Forest Green, according to goalkeeper Sam Russell.
Rovers play their final Skrill Premier match of 2013 at Hereford United tomorrow night (7.30pm), having got back to winning ways against Aldershot Town on Boxing Day.
Russell and company are unbeaten at home in the league since Ady Pennock replaced Dave Hockaday in the New Lawn hot-seat on November 12, and the ex-Middlesbrough stopper credits the new boss with improving the mood and morale of the squad.
Comparing the two regimes, Russell said: “It is a complete contrast to be honest.
“He (Pennock) has come in and made an impression and the camp is really good, and we are enjoying it at the minute.
“The togetherness wasn’t really there, so I think he has pulled the squad closer together.
“He has made a few little adjustments with the training situation and it’s working. Everyone is really positive and I think it is showing on the pitch as well.”
For all that positivity, Rovers remain in a lowly 13th position in the table and have managed just two wins on the road in the whole campaign.
But a repeat of last season’s victory at Edgar Street in front of the live BT Sport cameras tomorrow evening will go a long way towards resurrecting the play-offs mission.
Russell said: “It’s been a very strange season so far and it is still fairly early.
“The pressure was coming from outside the club, being where we are at the minute, and we are there for a reason.
“The only way is up. If we keep plugging away and getting results here and there I think we will surprise a lot of people again.
“In the back of our heads promotion is obviously what we want and it is going to be a big ask.”
Pennock could well name an unchanged line-up, with Jamie Turley, Chris Stokes, Yan Klukowski and Magno Vieira still sidelined by injuries and Paul Green serving the second of a three-match ban.
Cash-strapped Hereford finished above Hockaday’s side in 2012/13 but have struggled this term, although they were unfortunate to lose 2-1 at much-fancied Kidderminster Harriers on Boxing Day.
Central defender Luke Graham, who has had two spells at Forest Green, is now a player-coach under Bulls boss Martin Foyle.