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Match Previews

PREVIEW: CHELTENHAM (H)

20 December 2018

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Swindon Town can beat their best run of home form this season with a win against Cheltenham at the Energy Check County Ground.

Town had not won two in a row at home since August until Kaiyne Woolery’s goal sealed victory over Newport County two weeks ago – Town now have the chance to win three home games in a row for the first time since the turn of 2017 to 2018.

The run of victories at home would take them one step closer to the five wins on the bounce at SN1 that started on New Year’s Eve 2017.

Richie Wellens’ team will be looking to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat against Grimsby last weekend – a result that was tough to take for the team who had the lion’s share of chances on a horrible day in Cleethorpes.

The Oppo

An uplift in form since the end of October has seen Cheltenham Town lift themselves out of the League Two relegation zone. The Robins recently enjoyed an important seven match unbeaten run in league and cup with signs beginning to show that new manager Michael Duff’s ideas and work on the training ground has been starting to click.

Duff was appointed Cheltenham boss midway through September after Russ Milton’s caretaker stint following the departure of former manager Gary Johnson. Johnson had led the Robins to promotion from the Conference in 2016 though paid the price for a poor start to the season.

Returning to the club where he started his playing career, Duff is looking to make his mark in his first managerial role after departing Burnley where he was under-23s boss at Turf Moor. It was a slow start for the former Northern Ireland international defender, failing to register a win in his first eight outings in charge.

Back-to-back home league wins against Newport and Grimsby Town have helped improved Cheltenham’s position in the division, as did a vital 3-0 away success over Notts County, and they travel to the Energy Check County Ground ahead of a busy Christmas period that also features fixtures with high flying MK Dons and county rivals Forest Green Rovers.

Head-to-Head

03 Mar 2009       Swindon Town v Cheltenham Town         D             2-2          League One

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          FA Cup

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

The Gaffer

Cheltenham’s Town most successful youth product returned to where it all began in 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 highly 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 the season, and he was announced as Gary Johnson’s replacement, returning to Cheltenham to take on his first managerial role in the game.

Festive Fun

The clearing behind the Don Rogers Stand will be the venue for the predominance of activities with fans of all ages able to enjoy some festive fun from 12:00 on the day.

In the list of activities, Santa’s Grotto is making an appearance with families able to meet and ask Santa to see whether they’re on the naughty or nice list this year.

On the green behind the stand, a giant inflatable snowglobe bouncy castle is being put up to create a really friendly atmosphere for our festive fixture. Families can also enjoy food stalls, and much, much more on the day.

In the club shop, anyone looking for a last-minute Christmas present can purchase anything from Christmas jumpers and t-shirts to baubles, calendars and Toblerone bars!

You can still get your tickets for the game here.


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