RUDY Gestede reckons Blackburn Rovers are well and truly in the play-off race – and has urged them to take inspiration from his former club Cardiff to ensure they get over the line.
Gary Bowyer’s in-form side head to promotion rivals Nottingham Forest today just two points off the top six after a run of four wins in their last six Championship matches.
Those four victories, over Millwall, Yeovil, Leeds and Doncaster, were achieved by one-goal margins. But Gestede is not worried.
The striker was part of the Cardiff side that made narrow wins an art form last season.
Of the 25 victories the Bluebirds recorded on their way to claiming the title 17 were by a single goal.
And ace Gestede would take more of the same at fifth-placed Forest today – and at home to Derby next weekend.
“With Cardiff our strength was a lot of clean sheets and we knew just scoring one goal would be enough,” said the Benin international, who got the only goal of the game against Doncaster last weekend as Rovers made it back-to-back wins for the fourth time this season.
“Hopefully we can keep doing the same thing here.
“We have got two big games coming up against teams that are competing with us for the play-offs.
“We need to be focused on these games and be ready to fight.
“We have won two in a row now and we need to keep winning games because it is very important in this league to win game after game.
“We need to keep going.”
When Gestede initially joined on loan from Cardiff, in late November, Rovers were down in 14th.
But since then they have won five and drawn two of their last nine league matches to move up to eighth – leaving them hot on the heels of Forest.
“We started slowly but we are in the race and the season is still long,” said Gestede, who completed a £200,000 permanent move from the Bluebirds once the transfer window opened earlier this month.
“We will see what happens come May 24.
“But we know if we want to get into the play-offs then we need to try and take points off teams like Forest and Derby.”
Rovers boss Bowyer believes his new-look, youthful team is really beginning to gel.
And he admits Gestede has played a big part in that.
“The mentality has got better – it’s always been there but it’s improved,” said Bowyer.
“The most pleasing thing is that the players – and the younger players especially – are starting to show a lot of signs of maturing.
“I think the big man, Rudy Gestede, has made a big difference for us.
“I think throughout the season we’ve been competitive and played some good football.
“But for us now it feels like it’s starting to come together a little bit.”