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Long looks ahead to Exeter challenge

3 September 2019

Sean Long is hoping a cup competition that proved to be fruitful for the Robins last season will once again provide benefits ahead of Cheltenham's first Leasing.com Trophy fixture of the season at Exeter City on Tuesday night.

The Irishman's side are getting set to begin their Group E Southern Section campaign with a trip to St James Park, with home outings against West Ham United under-21s and Newport County to come in October and November.

Following Saturday's last gasp single goal defeat to Crawley Town, Tuesday's game also represents a good early opportunity for the team to bounce back and return to form.

"The Checkatrade Trophy was good to us last year as we introduced the current formation that we're playing now," Long said. "Hopefully we can rectify a few mistakes that we made from Saturday and really kick on.

"That's the good thing about this league and the Leasing.com games - you've always got a chance to put it right."

Exeter have made a good start to the new season. Managed by former Robins defender Matt Taylor, the Grecians are top of League Two and go into the match unbeaten from their last four games.

"Their style doesn't change," Long added when previewing Tuesday's opposition. "They have their identity - similar to what we have here. They might make changes and we might make changes. The gaffer said everyone is going to contribute this year, so anyone that does come in has to be ready."

One thing Cheltenham will be aiming to do on Tuesday is score a first away goal of the season in what will be the teams fifth attempt so far.

Having failed to find the back of the net at Leyton Orient, Morecambe, Bristol Rovers and Crawley, there's an eagerness to break that duck away from home.

"We work on stuff every week to create chances and in training you can see that. It's just up to us as a team to deliver on the pitch. Maybe it's just that bit more belief, that final bit of quality sometimes we're lacking, but we definitely have the players to create chances as people have seen at home. Just that little bit of belief will help us.

"You always go through spells where you might not score many away from home and you might not score many at home. It's about looking at the video and putting into place what we are doing in training to fix that problem. We need to get more points away from home but it's not as if we're not trying - we are working hard to put that right."

Kick-off at St James Park this evening is at 7.45pm.


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