Our sixth preview is on Cheltenham Town. Can they make it third time lucky in 2013/14?
Mark Yates’ side have missed out on promotion in the play-offs over the last two seasons, can they go one step further in 2013/14? Remember to visit the official site to find out when we face Cheltenham in the coming season, when the fixtures are released on June 19th.
Founded in 1887, Cheltenham made their bow in the Football League in 1999, after spending the rest of their early years in non-league football. That success was under the club’s most successful manager, Steve Cotterill. The Cheltenham-born boss led his side to League 1 in 2002 before moving on to Stoke City. A number of managers, including John Ward, Martin Allen, John Schofield and Keith Downing, prior to Mark Yates being appointed in December 2009.
Since his appointment in 2009, Mark Yates has cemented Cheltenham as a consolidating League 2 side after years of ups and downs. Yates began his playing career at Birmingham City before spells at Burnley, Doncaster Rovers and Kidderminster Harriers. The 43 year-old actually played for Cheltenham when he transferred from Harriers in 1999. His first managerial role was at Kiddy, spending three years in charge at Aggborough until the Robins came calling for his services.
Yates will once again be able to call on long-serving goalkeeper, Scott Brown for the upcoming season. Since 2005, Brown has gone onto make over 200 appearances for the club. Began his career at Wolves. Another former Wolves man, Keith Lowe, joined Cheltenham in 2010 after spells with Hereford, Swansea and Burnley. Lowe will be an option in defence along with Portuguese right back, Sido Jombarti, captain, Steve Elliott and left back, Billy Jones. Jones is a former Exeter City player and is a free kick specialist. In midfield, Yates has plenty of experience with the likes of former Rotherham United player, Jason Taylor, and Russell Penn. Ex-Barnet and Oxford United winger Sam Deering is another option. Up front, Byron Harrison will be desperate to add more goals to his game after joining from AFC Wimbledon in January 2013.
Former Aldershot winger, Jermaine McGlashan will hope to have a similar season to the last campaign where he appeared 51 times for Cheltenham. The pacy 25 year-old scored against Blues when Paul Sturrock’s men beat Cheltenham 3-1 at Whaddon Road in Seotember, McGlashan spent his whole career in non-league prior to signing for Aldershot in 2010. Joined Cheltenham for a reported £60,000 in January 2012.
After suffering play-off Final heartbreak at the hands of Crewe Alexandra in 2012, Yates’ men were on the march again. Another good campaign saw Cheltenham end the season with only two home league defeats. The club also embarked on an FA Cup run that was halted by Everton at Whaddon Road, the Toffess running out as 5-1 victors. Come the end of the season, Cheltenham finished in the play-off places where they faced Northampton Town in the semi-finals. A narrow defeat at Sixfields Stadium saw the Cobblers take a 1-0 lead for the return leg. Aidy Boothroyd’s side earned themselves another win by the odd goal as Cheltenham’s promotion dream was left for another season.
One player who definitely won’t be playing for Cheltenham in 2013/14 is winger, Kaid Mohamed. The Welshman signed for Port Vale last month after spending three years at Whaddon Road. Another who looks certain to leave is highly rated midfielder, Marlon Pack. The former Portsmouth youth graduate is out of contract from July and has been linked with a number of clubs in higher divisions. Cheltenham will be entitled to a fee if Pack does depart due to the creative midfielder being under the age of 24. In May, Russell Penn signed a new deal to stay at Cheltenham, but Darren Carter, Harry Hooman and Bagasan Graham have all been released.
BLUES vs. CHELTENHAM:
Home: Blues 1-2 Cheltenham
A late Ben Reeves goal wasn’t enough as Blues went down 2-1 against the Robins at Roots Hall. First half goals through a Marlon Pack penalty and Paul Benson’s tap in saw Cheltenham climb to 3rd place, with Blues, two points outside the play-offs in 9th.
BLUES: Smith, Clohessy, Straker, Spillane, Prosser, Reeves, Mayor (Lavery, 81), Hurst, Laird (Assombalonga, 37), Woodyard (Leonard, 64), Corr
Unused: Bentley, Coughlan, Spicer, Harris
Away: Cheltenham 1-3 Blues
Blues won the three points in the game at Whaddon Road. Jermaine McGlashan gave Mark Yates’ team a 15th minute lead before Sean Clohessy equalised just before half time. Britt Assombalonga put Blues ahead after the break, with Mark Phillips sealing the win when he nodded in on 52 minutes.
BLUES: Smith, Clohessy, Cresswell, Phillips, Barker, Timlin, Martin (Straker. 86), Hurst, Spicer, Assombalonga, Tomlin
Unused: Belford, Woodyard, Benyon, Njie
Cheltenham Town are 4/1 to win promotion this coming season.