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Match Previews

Preview: Manchester City

23 January 2021

Match Previews

Preview: Manchester City

23 January 2021

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It's all set for another memorable night in the long history of Cheltenham Town when Premier League giants Manchester City visit the Jonny-Rocks Stadium in the FA Cup fourth round (kick-off: 5.30pm).

Just 12 days after former England striker Peter Crouch pulled the club out of the hat, swiftly followed by the big hitters from the Etihad Stadium, the Robins will line up for one of the most glamorous fixtures in 134 years as a football club.

A victory would surely mark one of the greatest upsets in the history of the world famous competition.

The task though that lies ahead for Michael Duff's men is a significant one with City boasting a sensationally talented squad and a manager ranked amongst the best in the world.

Whatever happens it's sure to be quite the night as Cheltenham go toe-to-toe with one of the best teams on the planet in our own back-yard.

Team news

Liam Sercombe and Chris Hussey miss out because of injuries, while Scott Flinders could be involved as he continues his steady return from a small niggle.

Tom Chamberlain is cup-tied so can't play but the rest of the squad are otherwise fit.

Michael Duff sat down to speak to the press on Thursday about the prospect of taking on one of world football's leading sides.


Going into the tie Man City have recorded nine straight wins in all competitions. They are one of the most in form sides in Europe right now and in that run have beaten rivals Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and most recently Aston Villa on Wednesday night.

Their squad list is littered with internationals, players who have been at the top of their game for over a decade, and others who look set to be the next biggest names for many years to come.

Their squad depth means in goal on Saturday they could opt for usual number one and Brazil international Ederson, while USA international Zack Steffen or former England international Scott Carson could don the gloves.

In defence, England's John Stones has been in excellent form of late, while the likes of World Cup winner Benjamin Mendy, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Portugal international João Cancelo may feature. Spaniard Eric Garcia is a 20-year-old who could be handed a starting place.

Their midfield line-up includes İlkay Gündoğan, Brazil international and captain Fernandinho and Bernardo Silva. As well as the big names they can boast in the middle of the pitch, the game may also represent an opportunity for academy product Tommy Doyle or German youngster Felix Nmecha to feature at first team level.

At the top of the pitch young English talents Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden are two of the leading lights in the England national side, while Riyad Mahrez is a two-time Premier League winner.

Brazil international Gabriel Jesus and Spain's Ferran Torres, who scored a hat-trick against Germany in November 2020, are a couple of other standout names in their forward line. 17-year-old Liam Delap, son of former Stoke City man Rory, is a young member of their squad who could be handed minutes too.

The manager: Pep Guardiola

A two time Champions League winner as a manager who has also won the La Liga three times as manager of Barcelona, Bundesliga three times as manager of Bayern Munich and twice the Premier League in charge of Man City, Pep Guardiola is one of the best managers in world football.

The 50-year-old has followed up a playing career that saw him play as a holding midfielder over 380 times for Barcelona and also 47 times for Spain with a managerial career that has seen him win trophy after trophy.

The Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, FA Cup and Copa del Rey are just among the many cup competitions he has enjoyed silverware in and later this season he already has one cup final date booked when his side will take on Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup final.

Match programme

The club have teamed up with legendary photographer and big Man City fan, Kevin Cummins, to produce a special edition of our match programme.

Half of the profits will be being donated to FareShare, the UK's leading charity fighting hunger and food waste.

Cummins has provided a fantastic front cover image of the Gallagher brothers, Liam and Noel, from the huge British band Oasis.

Inside the programme there are loads of great features to read. Alfie May is the big interview, Matty Blair looks ahead to the game, and goalkeeper coach Steve Book discusses his uncle, Tony, who played for City and managed them three times.

There are also history features looking back at Cheltenham's two previous fourth round appearances in the FA Cup, club connections with the opposition, a revisit to how the FA Cup journey has gone for the Robins this season and much more.

To purchase your copy you can buy online through the club's online shop.

Digital tickets

Everyone at Cheltenham is hugely disappointed that the stands at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium will be empty for one of the most exciting nights in the history of the club. It's the dream draw at the worst possible time.

To show your support though the club have been selling digital match tickets in the build up to the fixture. Priced at £10 by purchasing one you will receive a free digital match programme, an official teamsheet before kick-off and a souvenir ticket.

To get your digital match ticket make sure you buy online ahead of the game.

Enjoy the match at home

The club are asking all supporters to enjoy watching Saturday's fixture from the comfort of their own homes.

There will be an increased police presence around the stadium and fans will be unable to be present in the area and will be reminded of the current state of the national lockdown in force across the country.

The road outside the stadium will be closed from 3pm to 4pm and then again after the match.

Please do not attend the stadium, and although the club wish the game was taking place in front of a full house, we request that you enjoy the match from home.


Enjoy watching the match in full on BBC One. The coverage, hosted by Gary Lineker alongside Alan Shearer and Micah Richards, begins at 5.20pm.

Follow @CTFCofficial on Twitter for updates throughout the night, behind the scenes videos, images and more. You can also check out the club's Facebook page and Instagram account for content.

Post-match visit the club website to read a match report and to also watch Michael Duff's post-match press conference.

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