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HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Cheltenham Town

A look at Saturday's League Two opponents

18 August 2017

Having secured a first Sky Bet League Two victory of the season at Cambridge last weekend, Keith Curle’s side are now hoping for a maiden Brunton Park triumph as they welcome Cheltenham Town to the north west.

But the Robins themselves will be hoping to pick up back-to-back wins in the league and begin to climb up the table.

It’s certain to be an intriguing contest, and we’ve put Gary Johnson’s side under the microscope to get the lowdown on our visitors before the big game:

Two wins, two defeats

It’s been a mixed start to the season for Cheltenham who have won two and lost two after playing four games in all competitions.

Their season began with a 2-1 defeat at Morecambe before they defeated Oxford United 4-3 in the first round of the Carabao Cup, requiring extra time to knock-out their League One hosts.

A first league win of the season followed at home against Crawlely last weeked, but the Robins were then defeated 2-1 by Swansea City in the Checkatrade Trophy earlier this week. They’ll be keen to get back to winning ways at Brunton Park and pick up a first away success in the league.

Plenty of changes expected

While Cheltenham may have lost out to the Swans on Tuesday evening, the scoreline doesn’t quite tell the fully story.

Gary Johnson used the Checkatrade Trophy tie as an opportunity to test some of his youngsters - 17-year-old George Lloyd started along with young goalkeeper Rhys Lovett while youth team captain Lee Llewelyn was on the bench.

First team regulars Nigel Atangana, Jordan Forster and Mohamed Eisa were all rested completely with Harry Pell and Carl Winchester given only 45 minutes, so it’s wise not to look too much in to that result.

It’s likely that Johnson will make several changes ahead of the trip to Brunton Park with some of his more experienced heads returning, meaning the Blues could face a very different test to the once Swansea had.

United’s good record to continue?

The Cumbrians may have lost 1-0 the last time they faced Cheltenham, but that was the first defeat the Blues had suffered against the Robins since 2008.

United have picked up five wins from the last ten meetings between the two sides, with Cheltenham having won only two.

There have been 20 league meetings of the two teams, with both Carlisle and the Robins claiming six wins with eight games ending in draws.

It’s the Blues who have had the better of the recent meetings, though, and they’ll be hoping for a similar result this time around.

Below are the highlights from last season's 1-1 home draw:

Glamour ties coming up ...

It’s not just United who have an exciting Carabao Cup tie on the horizon.

While Carlisle prepare to welcome Sunderland to Brunton Park, Cheltenham will be facing West Ham at the LCI Rail Stadium in a televised clash.

Both Curle and Johnson will be keen to ensure their sides are fully focused on the task at hand before attentions to turn the glamorous cup ties.

Ones to Watch

+ Harry Pell - The midfielder was a key figure in the Robins’ promotion from the National League in 2016 and continued his fine form in League Two last season. Comfortable centrally or on the right, Pell was wanted by Blackpool earlier in this transfer window but turned down the Seasiders. Always looking to chip in with an assist or goal, the 25-year-old will need to be watched carefully.

+ Mohamed Eisa - Plucked from non-league by Johnson during the summer, Eisa had a good track record before stepping up to the Football League and immediately demonstrated his worth to the Robins with five goals in pre-season. He added a brace in the Carabao Cup against Oxford and is a handful for any defence with his pace and deadly finishing proving a powerful combination.

+ Brian Graham - Another summer addition, Graham moved to the LCI Rail Stadium from Hibernian and could partner Eisa up top at Brunton Park. Having proven himself north of the border, the striker is now looking to make a name for himself in England. At 29-years-old, Graham offers some valuable experience having represented the likes of Dundee United and Ross County in the past. An old-school target man, Graham’s physical presence could prove the ideal accompaniment to Eisa’s sheer pace.


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