TOUMANI Diagouraga says competition for places is strong as the Town midfielder looks to muscle his way into a starting berth.

The 31-year-old played a full 90 minutes in Swindon’s narrow 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy win over Newport County at the Energy Check County Ground on Tuesday night.

It was a first match back for the former Fleetwood Town man after he served a three-match ban for his sending off against Crawley last month and he is now available for Saturday’s clash with Bury.

His return was mirrored by James Dunne, who was red-carded in the same fixture, and not only will that pair be competing for a start, but Michael Doughty, Jak McCourt, Michael Smith, Steven Alzate and Ellis Iandolo are also in the mix.

But the Frenchman is not backing down from the challenge, saying: “I’m hopeful my performance can put me forward for Bury but the boys did really well against Morecambe.

“It’s competition for places which is good if we want to be successful, I like the competition I don’t mind it.

“The competition is pretty intense, everyone wants to play and there are places up for grabs.

“The team spirit is very good. It is one of the best that I have ever experienced to be honest.

"From day one the lads have been very good and we have a good atmosphere in the changing room.

“We all have a common goal and we all want to be successful, we know what we want to achieve this season and we are all pushing the same way.

“I feel like we have some momentum now. We are unbeaten in six but it can’t stop there, we need to get seven, eight and onwards.”

Tuesday night also marked the first time Swindon have recorded back-to-back victories as well as two consecutive clean sheets this season.

Now they have a new sense of defensive resolve, Diagouraga wants to see it remain an aspect of their game.

“(It) wasn’t a spectacle but we won every second ball, we came out on top in every challenge all over the pitch,” he added.

“It is very important that we have two clean sheets, that is why we have been talking about getting them for so long, now we have two.

“Hopefully we can have three at the weekend. I think we have just been defending better, sometimes luck doesn’t go your way but at the moment it seems to be going our way.”