Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff is relishing his first full season in charge of the Robins. The 41 year old takes his side to newly promoted Leyton Orient for their season opener on Saturday and is raring to get the season started. Speaking to gloucestershirelive.co.uk “everybody at the club is ready for it now. Pre Season is a long hard slog so I think everyone in the league is ready for it now”.
Cheltenham’s Pre Season Results
Duff guided the Robins to a 16th place finish last season and is looking to continue their momentum this season. The former Burnley U23 manager took over last September after Gary Johnson’s departure and has slowly stamped his mark on his side. Speaking to gloucestershirelive.co.uk after his first pre season in charge “this is my team now, there is no hiding, not that I was last year, saying they are not my players. But this is down to me now. We need to win games of football for us to do well in the league and for me to keep my job”.
- Duff’s Record as manager – P46 W17 D12 L17 F72 A77
Tomorrow’s clash with Orient has added significance for both sides due to the passing of O’s head Coach Justin Edinburgh in the summer. With remembrance events planned pre match, Duff acknowledges it will be an emotional afternoon but focus will turn to football when the whistle blows. Speaking to Gloucestershirelive.co.uk “we need to pay our respects and the supporters have made a fantastic gesture with the flag. We’ll go there, conduct ourselves respectfully before and after the game. The players will know and Orient will be the same, once the whistle blows it’s just a game of football”.
The Robins have struggled on the opening day and are without a win since 2014/2015 season. Duff acknowledges that travelling to the National League Champions will not be an easy task. Speaking to CTFC.co.uk “it’s probably as difficult a game as what we could have had. They will be riding the crest of the wave but the added emotion and probably pressure because of what happened to Justin”.
Ahead of the trip to Orient, Duff added three loan signings this week to bolster the ranks. Jake Doyle-Hayes was the last to arrive on loan from Aston Villa and the 19 year old is keen start the season strong. Speaking to CTFC.co.uk “the form last season was unbelievable towards end of season since Christmas. When I was at Cambridge, just watching the league Cheltenham had a really good end of season so hopefully we can keep momentum going”.
- Cheltenham only lost two of their last eight league fixtures – W3 D3 L2
With three of their opening four games away from home, the Robins will be looking for a positive start on Saturday. Although the want to look ahead at the fixtures, Duff is keen to only look at the test in front of his side. Speaking to CTFC.co.uk “if you win enough games you’ll do alright in this league. There’s no point in looking at 45 or 46 games time where you’re going to finish; you’ve got to win the one in front of you. And then keep winning the one in front of you and you never know where it may take you”.
Strikers Reuben Reid (knee) George Lloyd (knee) are both out through injury while Chris Hussey is set to miss out. Josh Debayo should be involved after training all week. Duff could hand debuts to Max Sheaf, Charlie Raglan, Rohan Ince, Tahvon Campbell and Daniel Bowry.
Head to Head – Leyton Orient 6, Draw 5, Cheltenham 10
Last Meeting – 25/02/2017 – Leyton Orient 0-1 Cheltenham
- Cheltenham have only lost one of the last five meetings – winning three
- Cheltenham have won their last two trips to Breyer Group Stadium
- Only three of the last nine meetings have seen both teams score
Leyton Orient 1-1 Cheltenham Town