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Match Previews

Match Preview: Macclesfield Town vs Cheltenham Town

21 August 2018

Sky Bet League Two action returns to Moss Rose tonight, as we welcome Gary Johnson’s Cheltenham Town.


Macc and The Robins have had almost identical starts to this campaign, as we search for our first points in the league but winning on penalties in the Carabao Cup a week ago.


The Silkmen defeated higher league opposition in Bradford City, before Michael Rose showed his set-piece credentials in the Oldham loss at the weekend.
Tonight’s visitors are yet to have found the net in the league this season, losing 1-0 on Saturday against Carlisle United.


The Robins will also see two very familiar figures in the home dugout this evening in Mark Yates and Neil Howarth - who played together at the Gloucestershire side, before returning as Manager and First Team Coach between 2009-2014.


But history aside, both teams will see this tie as a crucial fixture to get points on the board, however with the magnificent performances from the fans so far this season, Macc will almost certainly have a home advantage.


Team News


Mark Yates will once again be without long-term absentee Elliot Durrell who continues his rehabilitation from an adductor issue, whilst Ryan Lloyd and Peter Vincenti are also expected to be sidelined.


One to watch - Johnny Mullins


Current Cheltenham Town captain, Johnny Mullins, signed for the Robins in the summer from Luton Town.


The 32-year-old made over fifty appearances in all competitions for The Hatters over the last two seasons, wearing the captain’s armband on multiple occasions and helping the Bedfordshire side to League Two promotion.


The experienced 6ft-tall defender has also featured heavily for Oxford United and Rotherham United, spending three years at both clubs after two years at Stockport County.


He began his career with Reading back in 2004, joining Kidderminster Harriers on loan for two seasons before making his EFL debut with Mansfield Town.


As well as being a strong presence in the back-line, where Mullins helped Luton keep seven clean sheets in the twenty-two matches he played in last season, he has scored over 30 career goals and could prove a handful for Macc from set-pieces.


The Opposition


Cheltenham were first promoted to the Football League in 1999 and since then fluctuated between League Two and League One, winning promotion to the English third tier via Playoffs in 2002 and 2006.


The Robins have only spent one season back in the Conference since their EFL debut, which is a credit to Mark Yates who helped steady the ship during his tenure.


They lost just five matches in the 2015-16 season to win the title and confirm a return to the English Fourth Tier at the first time of asking.


Their most significant piece of silverware came 20 years ago this summer, winning the FA Trophy in the 1997/98 season.


Then Manager Steve Cotterill guided the Robins through the competition to a 1-0 victory against Southport at Wembley.


Last season, Cheltenham finished 17th in League Two despite scoring 67 goals during the campaign.


Only Accrington Stanley, Luton Town, Wycombe Wanderers (all promoted to League One) and Notts County scored more.

 

By Matt Bates


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