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Club News

In Focus: Oxford (A)

31 December 2012

Murry Toms takes a more details look at the New Year's Day clash with Oxford United.

Cheltenham Town will tomorrow take on Oxford United for the third time this season in the New Year's Day A40 derby.

The pair have already faced each other twice this season, winning one apiece at the Abbey Business Stadium.

Cheltenham triumphed in the league meeting, Darren Carter and Shaun Harrad with the goals in a 2-1 success back in September.

Chris Wilder's side replied with a 4-2 Johnstone's Paint Trophy win three weeks later to book their place in the area quarter-finals.

Tomorrow though manager Mark Yates will be looking to emulate last season's league victory, their first-ever win in six attempts at United's three-sided ground.

The Us have stuttered this season and sit in 14th place going into the match, 10 points adrift of Cheltenham's tally of 42 points.

But their form has picked up in recent weeks and tomorrow they will be aiming to stretch their unbeaten run in all competitions to ten matches.

They have won their last two games in some style, at AFC Wimbledon (3-0) and Exeter City (3-1), to double their number of away wins for the campaign inside four days.

But at home the Us have returned only five wins in 11 matches, scoring 19 and conceding 14 at the Kassam Stadium, and failed to register a win in Oxfordshire in December.

Former Middlesbrough and Luton Town striker Tom Craddock has notched more goals than anyone, 11 to be precise, while support has come from James Constable (nine) and Alfie Potter (six) in attack.

Constable though seems set to miss out tomorrow through suspension after his red card in Saturday's win in south London.

At the time of writing the club intended to appeal the striker's straight red for an alleged elbow at Kingsmeadow two days ago.

Meanwhile Cheltenham have won four, drawn four and lost four away from home and banished the horror show at Rochdale by plundering four without reply against Wycombe Wanderers on Boxing Day.

Worryingly the four goals leaked on that instantly forgettable evening at Spotland took the total of goals conceded by Yates' side in the most recent six away games to 17, compared to just four in our opening six away fixtures this season.

Cheltenham of course will be backed by a large and loyal support, who will make the short trip across to Oxford to make themselves heard in the North Stand, but will they see their team rediscover their thriftiness in defence?

Travel club coaches for this fixture are now sold out but you can still buy ticket on the turnstiles on the day of the game.

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