Everyone knows it. Swindon have never won at Cheltenham - an unwanted record to say the least that hasn’t stopped over a thousand Robins purchasing tickets in hope that the curse will finally be broken this Saturday in the FA Cup First Round Proper.
Town’s recent record in the oldest cup competition is not the greatest either – the Robins haven’t beaten a league side in the tournament since 2012 where they made it all the way to the Fourth Round beating then-League One high-flyers Huddersfield 4-1 at the County Ground, Colchester by a single goal and Premier League Wigan.
They eventually lost out to Leicester, featuring now-manager, Richie Wellens in midfield.
However, the main source of hope is of more recent origin – Wellens’ side are three wins from three and playing some of their best football of the season.
Eoin Doyle won League Two Player of the Month and has scored six goals in his last four games. Jerry Yates has complimented his strike partner chipping in with goals against Crawley and Bradford during October.
Last time out, Doyle and Diallang Jaiyesimi made the difference when Walsall visited the County Ground as Swindon ran out 2-1 winners at a blustery and rainy SN1.
Cheltenham’s home form has been their strength this season – the draw at Whaddon Road earlier on in the season was their 14th game unbeaten on home soil. Up until last weekend’s loss against Forest Green, they were 18 games without losing at home. Their previous loss at the Johnny-Rocks Stadium had come back in January against now-promoted Tranmere.
Their top scorer this season is Ryan Broom with six goals – he has also contributed the most assists, currently standing at four.
Last season, in the FA Cup, Cheltenham made it through the first round via a replay with National League Ebbsfleet – they were knocked out in the next round by Accrington Stanley.
The last time they beat league opposition in the tournament was back in 2016 where they went to Crewe and won 4-1 in a replay – however, they’ve been knocked about by non-league opposition on two occasions in the last three years.
Sutton United and Maidstone dismissed the Gloucestershire side in consecutive seasons.
13 Aug 2011 Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town L 1-0 League Two
10 Mar 2012 Swindon Town v Cheltenham Town W 1-0 League Two
08 Nov 2014 Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town L 5-0
07 Oct 2017 Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town L 2-1 League Two
10 Mar 2018 Swindon Town v Cheltenham Town L 0-3 League Two
22 Dec 2018 Swindon Town v Cheltenham Town D 0-0 League Two
27 Apr 2019 Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town L 3-2 League Two
24 Aug 2019 Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town D 2-2 League Two
Cheltenham’s Town most successful youth product returned to where it all began last September when he was appointed as the club’s new manager.
A central defender or right back who made over 600 career appearances, Michael Duff has progressed from life as a youngster in non-league football at Cheltenham, to a career spent playing in the Premier League for Burnley, where he earned legendary status at Turf Moor.
Duff made over 300 appearances in a lengthy stay at Cheltenham at the beginning of his career which saw him help the club gain promotion to the Football League – scoring the winning goal that sealed the Robins promotion to League football.
His stand out form in Gloucestershire caught the eye of clubs from a higher level, and in the summer of 2004 he joined Burnley and again went on to enjoy a well-regarded and lengthy spell.
It was also towards the end of his time at Cheltenham and through his time at Burnley that he gained international honours. In total he made 24 appearances for Northern Ireland – the country of his birth, having been born in Belfast.
When his playing days came to an end, after helping Burnley regain promotion to the Premier League, he was appointed to the coaching staff in the Academy set-up, eventually going on to become under-23s manager.
It was a position he held until the Cheltenham role became available in the early part of last season, and he was announced as Gary Johnson’s replacement, returning to Cheltenham to take on his first managerial role in the game. After taking the hot seat, he guided the Robins to 16th place in the table, safe of the predicted relegation battle he inherited. This season, he’s taken the Robins to a new level flying high in the division throughout the opening third of the season.