Robins fan Matt Pegg discusses a dream cup draw and Plymouth at home this weekend.
Football draws can make for an awfully mundane watch.
As “expert” pundits stand in a makeshift room, lazily swirling their hands around the ‘hat’ like a depressed bingo caller, with fake smiles on their faces as if the excitement is too much to bare, really can bore even the chirpiest of chap.
However, when the possibility of facing one of the country’s elite teams becomes a reality, it is a feeling like no other.
We Cheltenham fans have been lucky enough to experience this euphoria on more than one occasion over the past 2 years, with ties against Tottenham and Everton providing the seasonal highlights of 2012 and 2013 respectively. Now it is the turn of West Ham to face the wrath of the Robins…and I feel quietly confident about this one.
Now, while I am not going to relish the Tuesday evening trip across to East London, my optimism leads me to feel that the herculean effort of crossing one of the busiest cities on the planet may be rewarded with an upset.
Firstly, I can’t imagine Sam Allardyce will be selecting a full strength squad for a Capital One Cup second round tie. When Everton made their way to Whaddon Road last season, their team was pretty much a Premier League starting XI. It is likely that the Hammers will field some of their youngsters in order to rest the Kevin Nolan’s and Andy Carroll’s of the world for more ‘important’ competitions.
Secondly, the tie means so much more to Cheltenham than to West Ham. The financial remuneration that a victory brings, will mean far more to us lower league peasants than to the Premier League royalty that we are due to face on the 27th August. A victory brings media attention, which in turn brings TV coverage, which in turn brings financial reward and so on.
Finally, we should never forget the exploits of a certain Bradford City last season, a team that finished their league campaign 2 places behind Cheltenham. Defeating the likes of Arsenal, Wigan and Aston Villa on the way to Wembley should demonstrate to every competitor in this tournament that anything can happen. Let’s burst those Upton Park Bubbles!
While the team’s cup exploits are a pleasant distraction from a rather less than pleasing result at the weekend, getting the gig as weekly blog writer demands that I cover the clubs highs and lows. Now, while I am far from hitting the panic button after just a couple of games into the League Two season, I must express my lingering frustration that we can’t beat Chesterfield away. Now surely considered a bogey team for us, the Spireites deserved the win; a win that means we have a single solitary point after the first two weeks of the new campaign. But not to worry folks, we have a far less daunting prospect in the form of Plymouth Argyle at home….right??? It may be tougher than expected.
A crowd of around 1000 will undoubtedly descend upon the ABS from Cornwall; the hundreds of pounds of petrol money spent by the Green Army on their away travels significantly lessened by our comparatively close location. And despite losing their opening games, Argyle may be the only team in the division to have a tougher start to the campaign than us. A 1-0 loss away to Southend is not an embarrassing score-line, whilst a 2-0 defeat at home to Fleetwood was expected, with the Cod Army predicted to shine this season. With the aforementioned large away following along with some decent firepower up front in the form of Lewis Alessandra, this should not be considered a foregone conclusion.
Having said that, I believe that our boys will claim their first victory of the season with a sneaky 2-1 win. With Byron Harrison looking sharper than we all predicted, I think everyone feels slightly more optimistic about the 5 remaining weeks without Jamie Cureton. Let’s just hope Byron’s last appearance at the ABS against Crawley can be repeated this weekend.
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