"It’s time for us to come to grips.
Beat this virus" said stern faces,
While some returned from skiing trips
And others, Cheltenham races.
A topical quotation (for a change) as we try to forget the Southend United experience and renew our acquaintance with the upper half of the League Two table. The Robins are currently occupying an automatic promotion place even though they’ve lost twice as many games as we have, which only goes to show that an excessive number of drawn matches won’t do your promotion ambitions any good at all. An ex-Saddler who might be on view is striker Reuben Reid, although he was only a substitute in their most recent fixture. Some readers might remember goalkeeper Scott Flinders’ mighty hoof clearance (70 yards) when playing for Hartlepool against us in 2011 - it bounced over Jimmy Walker’s head and was destined for the net when Colin Nish raced on to it for an easy tap-in. Earlier in the year Flinders became the first ever keeper to score for Hartlepool in open play, with a 94th minute header against Bournemouth. Anyway, Cheltenham Town’s current League form goes like this:-
October 20th Scunthorpe United (H) Won 1-0
October 24th Mansfield Town (H) Drew 0-0
October 27th Port Vale (A) Lost 2-1
October 31st Forest Green Rovers (H) Won 2-1
November 3rd Oldham Athletic (A) Lost 2-1
November 14th Carlisle United (A) Won 1-2
What to expect from Darrell Clarke? Regrettably the crystal ball remains as cloudy as ever, both in terms of team selection and tactics. Some of his reported comments following the home defeat by Southend United might well have had a demotivational effect on his players, because he was almost implying a lack of effort on their part - and not only is that unjustified, but negative comments are surely best delivered privately rather than for public consumption? There don’t seem to be any major injury worries apart from wondering when “Flash” Gordon might be getting near to making what would be a welcome return to action. Time will tell …
Prediction? Just as it was confidently forecast that we would hammer basket case Southend United (and lost), this fixture looks for all the world like a 3-0 away drubbing. However, in a spirit of optimism it’s worth noting that Cheltenham Town’s defence is just as leaky as ours, so let’s get back to the draw standard with a 1-1 result with either Elijah or Rory scoring for the Super Saddlers!