A look ahead to Saturday's Sky Bet League 2 action at The People's Pension Stadium
Reds return to The People’s Pension Stadium on Saturday, when we take on Cheltenham Town in Sky Bet League 2, kick off 3pm.
Reds recorded only their second win in 14 games in all competitions when they beat Colchester United 2-0 on New Year’s Day, despite playing for more than an hour with ten men. Tuesday’s shut-out meant we kept successive clean sheets for only the second time this season.
After a shaky start to the season Cheltenham are climbing up the table. They have only lost one of their last ten League games and are unbeaten in three on the road, having won 4-1 at Yeovil on New Year's Day.
Joe McNerney starts a four-game ban for his red card on Tuesday, which was his second of the season. The club appealed against the decision but it was turned down.
Lewis Young is back in the squad after injury and Ollie Palmer is available again after suspension. Filipe Morais is close to a return after a calf problem and could be available next Saturday against Stevenage.
Cheltenham are without skipper Jonny Mullins (ankle) and long-term absentees Will Boyle and Sean Long. Cameron Pring, a left-sided defender, has joined the Robins on loan from Bristol City and is available for selection.
Chris Sarginson is in charge on Saturday.
The Staffordshire official has shown four red and 82 yellow cards in 27 games this season.
His most recent Crawley appointment was our 5-3 defeat to the Robins last March. In the 2016-17 campaign he refereed our 3-2 win at Morecambe and 2-1 defeat to Luton Town.
He will be assisted by Stuart Butler and Paul Lister. The fourth official is Brett Huxtable.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Gabriele Cioffi: “Another tough opponent on Saturday. Cheltenham have put together a good run of results so they clearly have a strong mentality and some quality in their squad. The ambition for our players is to improve on the performance against Colchester. We can do better, even though we won the game. This is what I will tell my players. It’s good to have another couple of experienced players available too. We are looking forward to the challenge.”
Michael Duff: “It's a crazy division. They were on a bad run, but Colchester are one of the best teams in the league and Crawley went down to 10 men after half an hour and did really well. I've watched the game back, they have some good players and their home record is good, with seven wins out of 13 at home, so it's going to be a difficult game. We can go another two places up the league and put distance between us and other teams with a win, which is what we will be trying to do.”
Cheltenham Town are one of the sides that the Reds have struggled against since we gained promotion to the Football League. Our record currently stands at two wins, a draw and five defeats from eight matches in all competitions.
The sides met regularly in our Southern League days but when we made the promised land of the Football League our first match against the Robins was one of just eight defeats in our debut league season as we were beaten 3-1 early on in the campaign.
The hosts were 3-0 up before half-time as Kaid Mohamed, Marlon Pack and Jeff Goulding all scored for the hosts, who were managed by Mark Yates at the time. Matt Tubbs scored a penalty early on in the second half, but it was not enough for the Reds to spark a comeback.
The return leg was a significant match for both sides as it was a clash between two of the top three in League Two. On a chilly night in February, the Broadfield Stadium witnessed a thrilling game between two promotion contenders on a bone-hard pitch which Reds won 4-2 thanks to two goals from Tyrone Barnett, who now plays for Cheltenham, and Sanchez Watt.
The following August, the two sides played out a cracking tie in the first round of the League Cup. A brace from Nicky Adams and a Gary Alexander strike saw the Reds race into a 3-1 lead with half an hour to go, but the hosts won 4-3.
The next three games resulted in two wins for Cheltenham and a goalless draw in RH11. Billy Waters and Jack Munns’ goals were enough for the Robins despite Kaby Djalo’s consolation late on in 2016, before the 0-0 stalemate preceded a 1-0 win for Cheltenham thanks to Mohamed Eisa’s sole goal the following season.
There was an incredible eight-goal thriller in Cheltenham’s last trip to West Sussex last March which the visitors won 5-3 despite goals from Karlan Ahearne-Grant, Panutche Camara and Lewis Young.
Standard matchday prices apply for this fixture. The two for £10 offer closed at 3pm on New Year’s Day.