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27 February 2021 Venue Sands Venue Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Scunthorpe United

26 February 2021

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Next up for Cheltenham Town it's a trip to North Lincolnshire and an away fixture against Scunthorpe United on Saturday (kick-off: 3pm).

After another away journey on Tuesday that ended up as a 1-0 away win at top of the table Cambridge United, the Robins are on their travels again with a clash against a Scunthorpe side who currently find themselves mid-table in League Two.

Still holding a place in the division's automatic promotion spots, another positive result over Scunthorpe after a 1-0 home win against them earlier in the season would be the perfect way to set-up back-to-back home games that come next at the beginning of March for Michael Duff's side.

Watch Saturday's match exclusively live on iFollow by buying a match pass.

Team news

Decisions over the fitness of Charlie Raglan, Chris Hussey and Liam Sercombe will be made before the game.

It's likely that Alex Addai won't be involved though with Chris Clements and Ellis Chapman definitely missing because of injury.

Assistant manager Russell Milton previewed the game on Thursday. Watch his thoughts on iFollow.

Opposition

Up until a 2-0 loss at Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday Scunthorpe had been enjoying their greatest run of wins in League Two this season and despite their midweek defeat will enter into Saturday's game in a good run of form.

They've registered four wins in their last five games, picking up maximum points against Grimsby Town, Port Vale, Colchester United and Harrogate Town in their winning run before it was ended by Bolton.

They are 16th going into Saturday's encounter and have an experienced head to rely on as their goalkeeper with former Sheffield United stopper Mark Howard their regular choice at the age of 34.

Their backline includes George Taft, who signed in January from Bolton, while long serving captain Jordan Clarke adds to defensive options who include former Rochdale man Harrison McGahey and left-sider Junior Brown.

In midfield, a former teammate of Matty Blair and Alfie May's from Doncaster Rovers, Alfie Beestin, could be deployed in this area. Former Reading and Galatasary midfielder Jem Karacan is a noteworthy central midfield option for them too, while in wide areas Alex Gilliead and Abo Eisa offer a speedy threat.

Their forward options include Ryan Loft with Dutchman Kevin van Veen also a threat. Devarn Green, who signed from National League North side Southport last summer, could also feature.

The manager: Neil Cox

After several seasons as an assistant to Neal Ardley at both AFC Wimbledon and Notts County, Neil Cox was named as manager of Scunthorpe in August 2020.

In appointing the one-time defender it saw him reunite with the club that gave him his break in the professional game as a player in a career that saw him go onto play over 550 League games for the likes of Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers, Watford, Cardiff City and Crewe Alexandra.

He has only had one previous stint as the main man in the dugout at non-league Leek Town who he linked up with towards the end of his playing days.

His assistant is ex-Huddersfield Town coach Mark Lillis, while former Port Vale goalkeeper Paul Musselwhite is goalkeeper coach.

One to watch: Ryan Loft

With eight goals from 30 appearances in all competitions this season, Ryan Loft has been in good scoring form of late, netting four times in their last five appearances.

The front man arrived at Scunny in August 2020 on a two-year contract having spent last season on loan at Carlisle United from Leicester City.

He'd been signed by the Foxes in 2018 upon his release by Tottenham Hotspur where he'd started his career. While with Spurs he spent time out on loan at Braintree Town, Stevenage and Exeter City.

Watch the match live on iFollow

Saturday's game is available to watch online in full on iFollow for £10.

To watch the game purchase a match pass ahead of kick-off and then log in with your iFollow account to watch the action.

Coverage

Stay updated with the club's social media channels. Follow @CTFCofficial for team news, match updates, in game photos and more. The scores will also be available to check on the club's Facebook page and Instagram account.

After the match make a visit to the club website to read the match report and to watch the manager's post-match press conference.

You'll be able to watch extended highlights on the club's iFollow channel.

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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Scunthorpe United 0-2 Robins

27 February 2021

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Cheltenham Town's impressive form on their travels continued with this comfortable win at Scunthorpe United.

All the damage was done in the first when goals by Sam Smith and Callum Wright put daylight between themselves and United at the break.

The hosts though were brighter in the second half and created a handful of chances to force their way back into the contest but once again the Robins were well organised to restrict their opponents, thanks in part to some good saves by Josh Griffiths.

They remain unbeaten on the road this year and this victory was their fourth in four from February, a maximum haul on the road and a run in which they have only conceded one goal. 

Duff hailed his side's performance after the game. "I'm really pleased today," he said

"I thought it was s clinical, profesional performance and we got the two goals relatively early.

"We knew we had to be good to win here because they've won four in five going into this one, and three of them were here so it was always going to be tough.

"In the second half we were quite prepared to sit in and see the game out.

"There were a couple of moments when we could have played some better, free flowing football but if you look at some of our away performances this year, when we've played other teams off the park but not won, it's about mentality.

"In the end it was as comfortable as it can be in this league."

Duff made two changes to the side that came away from Cambridge in midweek with a hard fought win.

Charlie Raglan returned after injuring his back ahead of that match at the Abbey Stadium, while Callum Wright was handed his second start after his debut at Walsall.

Lewis Freestone and George Lloyd dropped to the bench as Duff restored the 3-5-2 formation after using four in midfield four days ago.

Smith forced the first meaningful save of the game after 18 minutes, racing on to a ball by Matt Blair before cutting inside and releasing a low shot from an angle down the right. Mark Howard, the Scunthorpe goalkeeper, pushed it into the path of Wright before producing a low save to deny the striker with the follow-up.

The Reading loanee drew another stop midway through the half before he finally made the breakthrough with 25 minutes played.

It came about after some fantastic play down the right by Blair, who chased a ball to the byline before cutting it back to find Smith, volleying home from 12 yards.

Wright then made it two after his side had turned defence into attack four minutes before the interval. Blair carried it forward down the right and switched it out to Chris Hussey, who sent it in low to the feet of the Leicester City loanee. He took a touch, spun and found the net with a smart finish for his second goal for the club.

Then Finn Azaz almost made it three, but his glancing effort found the side netting.

The Robins were indebted to Josh Griffiths for a pair of fine stops to deny Kevin van Veen and Devarn Green to ensure his side carried their two-goal cushion into the second period.

The home side responded positively after the break and gave the Robins defence more to think about, but not for the first time in recent weeks they showed plenty of resilience.

Scunthorpe went on to produce a couple of good chances, the first of which arrived 23 minutes from time, Kevin van Veen with a devilish free-kick from 22 yards. Griffiths, though, was equal to it.

Then Manny Onariase, who spent two loan spells under Gary Johnson at Whaddon Road, headed against the bar after Griffiths missed a Mason O'Malley corner from the right.

But Cheltenham saw it out to complete a perfect run of results in February.

SCUNTHORPE UNITED (4-4-2): Howard; Clarke (c), McGahey, Taft (Onariase 7), O'Malley; Gilliead, Karacan (Beestin 61), Spence, Green; van Veen (Hallam 77), Loft (Eisa 46). Subs not used: Watson (Gk), Brown, Rowe.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Griffiths; Raglan, Tozer (c), Long; Blair, Thomas, Azaz, Wright (Vassilev 65), Hussey; May (Lloyd 65), Smith (Williams 79). Subs not used: Flinders (Gk), Freestone, Horton, Chamberlain.

REFEREE: C Pollard

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