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20 March 2021 Venue Jonny-Rocks Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Salford City

19 March 2021

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Cheltenham Town welcome Salford City to the Jonny-Rocks Stadium for a first ever home encounter with the Ammies on Saturday (kick-off: 3pm).

The shortened 2019/20 campaign meant Salford didn't make the journey to Cheltenham last season in what was Salford's first season in the Football League.

They have visited Cheltenham before, in a National League North fixture against then tenants Gloucester City, and after the 0-0 draw between the teams earlier in the season those watching will be keen to see goals this time around.

Watch Saturday's match live online by purchasing a match pass on iFollow.

Team news

There are no new injury concerns following Tuesday. It does mean though that Charlie Raglan, Will Boyle, George Lloyd and Chris Clements will still be missing through injury.

On Thursday boss Michael Duff spoke to the press to look ahead to the game.

Opposition

Last weekend Salford were back at Wembley for a second time in two years to compete in the delayed Papa John's Trophy final. And for a second time they left the home of English football with silverware as they defeated League One Portsmouth to win the competition.

They beat Pompey on penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw and their most recent outing on Tuesday evening at home to Colchester United also ended goalless.

They've only scored four times in their last eight games, however they've also been very tight at the back, and head into this weekend's contest having conceded the fewest amount of goals in the division. They've let in 27 goals in league fixtures this season.

Czech Republic born goalkeeper Václav Hladký has played a key part in that and the former St Mirren stopper will be set to line up again for them on Saturday.

In defence their options include a former 2009/10 season loanee at Cheltenham, Ashley Eastham, while Jordan Turnbull was a part of the Northampton Town side that won promotion through the play-offs last season. Di'Shon Bernard is on loan from Manchester United and left-sider Ibou Touray is among the longest serving members of their squad.

Their midfield boasts a number of talents who have featured further up the pyramid. Jason Lowe played Premier League football for Blackburn Rovers and has also previously been at Bolton Wanderers. Loanees Paul Coutts and Robbie Gotts have been brought in from Fleetwood Town and Leeds United, while Oscar Threlkeld could be selected having arrived at the club in 2019 from Belgian side Waasland-Beveren.

Their forward line features the experience of Ian Henderson who made the switch to Salford last summer after many years for the 36-year-old at Rochdale. Brandon Thomas-Asante provides energy at the top of the pitch and former Manchester United youngster James Wilson provides good quality too.

The manager: Richie Wellens

Richie Wellens has now been in position as Salford manager since the start of November after he left Swindon Town who he had guided to promotion to League One last season after the season was ended on a points per game basis.

He actually had a short spell playing for Salford at the end of a playing career that saw him begin his career at Manchester United but go onto play as a midfielder for the likes of Blackpool, Oldham Athletic, Doncaster Rovers, Leicester City and Shrewsbury Town.

As a manager he took charge of Oldham Athletic in October 2017 but suffered relegation with them to the fourth tier before going onto join Swindon in November 2018 following the exit of Phil Brown from the County Ground.

One to watch: Ashley Hunter

The light on his feet Ashley Hunter has netted seven times in 39 appearances for Salford this season after he joined the Ammies for an undisclosed fee from League One Fleetwood Town in July 2020.

He actually spent the second half of last season on loan at Salford from Fleetwood - a club where he made over 200 appearances in all competitions after joining in January 2015.

His move to Fleetwood came from non-league club Ilkeston where he had been playing in the Northern Premier League for the now dissolved Derbyshire club having been at Burton Albion as a youth team player.

Match programme

Be sure to purchase your copy of Saturday's match programme which is available to buy in print from the club's online shop or digitally via the MatchDay Digital app.

The big interview is with Leicester City loanee Callum Wright as he discusses his start to life at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium and the journey that has taken him to one of England's leading clubs via Tranmere Rovers, Everton and Blackburn Rovers.

There's also more from Michael Duff, a look back at the club's under-21 internationals in the wake of Josh Griffiths' selection in the upcoming England squad, the latest from around the club and much more.

The 24 page print version is available at a price of £2.50 from the online shop. You can purchase the 48 page digital version through MatchDay Digital for £1.99 on Android or Apple.

Watch the match on iFollow

Enjoy Saturday's game by watching all of the action from the comfort of your own home with a match pass on iFollow.

You can buy a match pass online for £10 and view the full 90 minutes with commentary from BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

Coverage

Keep a track of events at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium by following the club's social media accounts. Follow @CTFCofficial on Twitter for team news, match updates, images and more throughout the day. You can also check out the CTFC Facebook page and Instagram account for score updates.

Pre-game check out the club website and club's YouTube channel to watch 'Teamsheet Live' - our new live pre-game preview at 2pm.

After the game make a visit to the club website and check out Michael Duff's post-match press conference.

Extended highlights will be available to view also on iFollow.

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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Robins 2-0 Salford City

20 March 2021

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Cheltenham Town have returned to winning ways after beating Salford City 2-0 at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

First half goals from Seàn Long and Liam Sercombe handed hosts Cheltenham the early advantage and ultimately another three points in pursuit of automatic promotion.

The shortened 2019/20 campaign meant Salford didn't make the journey to Cheltenham last season in what was Salford's first season in the Football League.

Though, Michael Duff’s Robins were in no mood to make The Ammies' first trip to face Cheltenham a memorable one. Despite boasting the meanest defence in League Two this season, Salford found themselves on the back foot with only three minutes on the clock.

The threat Ben Tozer’s long-throw poses might be common knowledge to most teams in the country after his infamous launch caused Manchester City problems this season, but against Richie Wellens’ Salford, Tozer's trademark would bear fruits once again.

Having put the ball in the wrong net last time out against Barrow, it was Long who turned the ball in at the right end against Salford, as he connected with Tozer’s hurl into the penalty box.

Wellens has now been in position as Salford manager since the start of November after he left Swindon Town who he had guided to promotion to League One last season after the season was ended on a points per game basis.

This term, Salford have maintained their bid to secure a play-off place come May, but with only one win from their last seven before travelling south to Gloucestershire, Cheltenham were keen to mitigate any upset, if the form table is anything to go by.

As little as eight weeks ago, Salford sat two places above Cheltenham in the League Two table, but as the business end of the campaign nears, the Robins have cemented their place at the summit of the table, now 14 points ahead of today’s opponents.

While goal-scoring chances were few and far between after Long’s header put the hosts ahead in the third minute, Cheltenham threatened to double their advantage with a succession of dead ball situations, but Salford goalkeeper, Václav Hladký was proving dominant in and around his 18-yard box.

A second goal would however come for the hosts before half-time, as a counter-attack on the 42nd provided Liam Sercombe with the opportunity to net his fifth goal of the league campaign, and his second since returning from injury last month.

As Sam Smith held the ball up with great success, it was Matty Blair who offered energy down the right flank, before his cross-cum-shot landed at the far post, where Sercombe stole in on Salford’s Manchester United loanee, Di’Shon Bernard to knock the ball over the line for goal number two.

Wellens chose to make three alterations before the start of the second period, with Brandon Thomas-Asante and Emmanuel Dieseruvwe both coming into the fold with chance creation limited in the first 45 minutes for the away side.

Salford had scored the second-fewest goals amongst top-half teams in League Two this term before traveling to the Jonny-Rocks, but despite goal-scoring deficiencies this term, Salford have retained a solid defensive base through the campaign.

Cheltenham goalkeeper Josh Griffiths was level pegging on clean sheets with Hladký this term, before Long’s opener at the start of the contest cancelled out the possibility of clean sheet number 17 for Salford's stopper. 

With Salford keen to get going from a goal kick in the 65th minute, the Czech goalkeeper passed the ball blindly to Jordan Turnbull who was dispossessed inside his own box, before Alfie May failed to convert from close range.

Such gilt-edged opportunities to seal games are usually punished, but with a stroke of luck and a lengthy consultation between linesman and referee, Dieseruvwe’s acrobatic overhead kick on the 70th minute was ruled out for offside.

Cheltenham Town will travel to the Mazuma Stadium on Saturday to face Morecambe (kick-off 15:00).

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): J Griffiths (GK); S Long, B Tozer, L Freestone; M Blair, C Hussey, C Wright (E Chapman '83), C Thomas, L Sercombe; A May (A Williams '83), S Smith (F Azaz '87)

Subs not used: S Flinders (GK), G Horton, T Chamberlain, I Vassilev.

SALFORD CITY (3-4-2-1): V Hladky (GK); D Bernard (T James ’45), T Eastham, J Turnbull; A Hunter, I Touray, J Lowe, O Threlkeld; R Gotts (B Thomas-Asante ’45), J Wilson (E Dieseruvwe ’45); I Henderson.

Subs not used: W Evans (GK), L Burgess, L Loughlan, D Hawkins.

Referee: Lee Swabey.

Assistants: Mark Derrien, Christopher Kidd. Fourth Official: Ollie Yates.

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