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Steve Cotterill: Robins are in safe hands under Russell Milton

19 February 2015

Cheltenham Town are in safe hands under the management of Russell Milton, according to legendary former boss Steve Cotterill.

Cotterill, now in charge of League One leaders Bristol City, brought Milton to Cheltenham as a player in the summer of 1997, enjoying unprecedented success as the Robins' rise from the Southern League to the Football continued, clinching a place among the elite 92 clubs in the country two years later.

“Russell was one of many good signings we made for Cheltenham Town and he was instrumental in the success we had,” Cotterill said.

“His footballing ability was first class and he complemented the other midfielders we had. He was a wonderful footballer, his passing and ball retention were second to none and so we were his set play deliveries.

“He is an all-round honest lad who has ended up being a lot more than a player for Cheltenham, which has been the case with many of the players I signed.”

Having shone throughout six seasons as a player, Cotterill has now backed 46-year-old former head of academy coaching Milton to take the step up to first team management in his stride.

“He has done a good job with the youth team and now he has the opportunity to stake his claim for the job because it would be very difficult not to give it to him if he keeps them up,” Cotterill said.

“That’s a great incentive for Russ as it was for Mark Yates a few years ago and I know he’ll put 100 per cent effort in and more to make sure they achieve that.

“It sounds like he’s made a good start with the players and he needs to continue that now. I think he’ll adapt well to management because he’s a good talker and an intelligent guy, so he won’t have any problems.

“He has Steve Elliott with him, who I know has a good relationship with the players and the team are young and full of energy.

“I am sure between them they have the tactical knowledge to be good enough. I think they’ll climb out of trouble and god only hopes they did get out of it.”

Cotterill saw attendances at Whaddon Road surge from little more than 500 to around 4,500 during his incredible reign as Cheltenham boss.

He called on the people of Cheltenham to help their team preserve something which took 112 years to achieve.

“The crowd will be extremely important in the coming months,” he said. “When the place is packed, it’s very difficult for opposition teams.

“It’s around 2-2,500 at the moment and if ever the Cheltenham public need to get behind the team it’s now.

“Results in the past are irrelevant and I know how hard Paul Baker (chairman) and Colin Farmer (vice chairman) have been working to try and keep things positive.

“We worked long and hard to get into the Football League and the Cheltenham public now need to back them and help them stay there.”

Cotterill said that results are all important, with Cheltenham likely to have to dig out some results if they are to survive, starting at Accrington Stanley on Friday night.

“I am sure Russ would like to play attractive, attacking football based on his own game but it’s not about that at the moment and it may not be pretty,” he said.

“It’s about keeping clean sheets, being organised and maybe looking to counter attack away from home - hopefully that’ll see them through.”

* Tickets for tomorrow night’s game are available on the turnstiles, prices are as follows: £20 adults, £15 concessions, £10 students, £5 Under 12s.

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