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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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23 February 2021 Venue Abbey Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Cambridge United

23 February 2021

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It's a first against third meeting for Cheltenham Town on Tuesday with a trip to the Abbey Stadium to take on Cambridge United (kick-off: 7pm).

One of League Two's standout fixtures on the night sees the Robins head to Cambridge aiming to immediately bounce back from a disappointing home loss against Bradford City at the weekend in what's sure to be another tough examination.

Cambridge themselves earned three points on the weekend, securing an impressive away win at Mansfield Town, and have been enjoying an excellent season.

Watch Tuesday's game live in full on iFollow. Purchase a match pass online to view the game.

Team news

Chris Clements, Liam Sercombe, Ellis Chapman, Will Boyle and Alex Addai will all miss the game because of injury.

January loan signing Sam Smith will line up against a club he spent half of last season on loan at.

Watch Michael Duff's pre-match press conference looking ahead to the contest.

Opposition

After two games without a win, Cambridge United got back to winning ways on Saturday with a convincing 3-0 away victory at improving Mansfield Town. Top goal scorer Paul Mullin scored twice and Harvey Knibbs added a third in stoppage time.

It was another good result in what has so far been a fantastic season for the U's. Head Coach Mark Bonner is in his first full season in management at this level and has led his team to the top spot thus far, with the joint-best home record in the division to go with it.

Callum Burton has been their man to rely on in between the posts as their goalkeeper, and the 24-year-old has a defence in front of him who have helped keep four clean sheets in their last six outings.

Skipper Greg Taylor brings eight years of Cambridge knowhow to their backline, while they also include a newer face in Tottenham Hotspur loanee Jubril Okedina at the back.

Their midfield set-up features the energy of Adam May and Luke Hannant, with Harrison Dunk, who has provided a decade of service to the U's, a reliable figure with others such as academy graduate Ben Worman available to them.

It is at the top of the pitch where Paul Mullins' goals have been vital this term. The former Tranmere Rovers hit man has bagged 24 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions so far this season - including the late equaliser at Cheltenham back in November 2020.

Head Coach: Mark Bonner

Mark Bonner became a coach in the academy set-up with the U's in June 2011 at the age of 24. He has since worked his way right up to the top job.

He was named first team coach in January 2018 and has also worked as interim head coach and assistant head coach prior to his permanent appointment in March 2020 - before that he'd taken temporary charge in January 2020 when Colin Calderwood left his position in charge.

One to watch: Wes Hoolahan

Former Republic of Ireland international Wes Hoolahan returned to English football at the start of the season after a brief spell playing in Australia with the Newcastle Jets.

The attacking midfielder has scored four goals in 22 League Two appearances and started his career in his native Ireland with Shelbourne before moving to Scotland to sign for Livingston.

He moved to Blackpool, initially on loan before making it a permanent transfer, but went onto enjoy the best spell in his club career with Norwich City. He made over 300 league appearances for the Canaries, twice winning promotion to the Premier League and being named in the 2010/11 PFA Championship Team of the Year.

Watch the match on iFollow

By buying a match pass you can watch all of Tuesday's encounter live online.

Purchase a match pass on iFollow and enjoy the game from the comfort of your own home. Commentary for the match will be from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

Coverage

Follow @CTFCofficial on Twitter for team news and updates throughout the night. Follow the latest scores on the club's Facebook page and Instagram account.

Post-match visit the club website to read a match report and to hear from boss Michael Duff.

You can view extended highlights from the Abbey Stadium on iFollow.

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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Cambridge United 0-1 Robins

23 February 2021

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Sean Long's second half header handed gutsy Cheltenham Town a significant win at league leaders Cambridge United, cutting their lead at the top of the table to two points.

The Irishman made his first start of the campaign as a result of a late injury to Charlie Raglan and popped up with the second league goal for the club to hand Michael Duff's side a big scalp at the Abbey Stadium.

United had boasted the division's best home record going into this one and the chances of a Robins victory were dented by the news of another injury ahead of kick-off to rule out the key defender.

But they responded brilliantly to the disappointing home defeat four days ago with a much improved performance, defending manfully to restrict their hosts and preserving their narrow advantage.

The only blemish on the night was another injury, this time to Chris Hussey, who limped off in the second half to add to the manager's increasingly threadbare squad.

"I'm delighted with the win," he told the media afterwards.

"The players knew they had to be at it today because Cambridge United are a very good team.

"To come away from home and beat the team top of the league, with the best home record after a poor performance is really pleasing."

Duff made two changes to his side here. In came Long and George Lloyd for Raglan and Callum Wright while Wes Hoolahan was a notable absentee for the hosts.

They made a decent start though, hitting the woodwood with Liam O'Neil's glancing header after 16 minutes before Luke Hannant went close with a half-volley from 20 yards.

But Duff's side soon settled and found a foothold in the contest midway through the first half. George Lloyd inparticular was full of energy, chasing lost causes and almost fashioned the opening goal with some outstanding work down the right. His cross, though, evaded his teammates.

More good play from the young striker resulted in a measured cross from Conor Thomas, but Sam Smith's header was held by Callum Burton, the Cambridge number one. The striker saw an similar effort saved moments later, this time Long was the supplier from the right.

The best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Jack Iredale, who raced onto Greg Taylor's ball and attempted to lob Josh Griffiths but the stopper got his fingertips to it. The midfielder picked up the loose ball but saw his second attempt cleared to safety by a sliding intervention by Tozer.

Cheltenham's injury woes continued early in the second half when Hussey was unable to continue, limping out after 53 minutes. He was replaced by Grant Horton for his second league appearance, deployed on the right of the three-man defence with Sean Long moving to the left and Freestone taking Hussey's role outside him.

Despite all the setbacks they found themselves in front 27 minutes from time through Long following some tanacious play by Alfie May to force a corner from the left. It kept his side on the front foot and he was soon in a position to send in a deep cross, met by the Irishman to guide it home with a looping header.

Cheltenham forced the home side into all the defending after the goal, forcing United manager Mark Bonner into a triple substitution and it tipped the balance of play in his side's favour and they went on to produce a string of chances in the closing stages to salvage a point.

Harvey Knibbs was a whisker away from turning in a cross from the left and Paul Mullin went even closer, but was denied by a vital deflection by Horton. In the end they held out to notch another impressive win on the road and enhance their promotion credentials.

CAMBRIDGE UNITED (4-4-2): Burton; Knoyle, Okedina, Taylor (c), Dunk; Hannant (Knibbs 75), May, O'Neil (Boateng 75), Iredale (Tracey 75); Mullin, Ironside. Subs not used: McKenzie-Lyle (Gk), Drysdale, Alese, Daviers.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-4-3): Griffiths; Long, Tozer (c), Freestone; Blair, Thomas, Azaz, Hussey (Horton 53); Lloyd, Smith (Williams 82), May. Subs not used: Flinders (Gk), Bowry, Wright, Chamberlain, Vassilev.

REFEREE: J Oldham

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