Cheltenham, known as "The Robins" joined the Football League after promotion from the Conference in the 1998/99 season, and after three seasons in Division Three, eventually won promotion to the Second Division under the stewardship of current Burnley boss Steve Cotterill. They were immediately relegated in 2002/03 after unsuccessful reigns of Graham Allner and Bobby Gould could not keep them up. Ex-Mariners striker John Ward (left) is now at the helm and celebrates a year in charge next Month. Ward guided them to a 14th place finish last term and will look to better that this term. So far, Cheltenham have had an indifferent start to their season with just 10 points from their 10 games - the highlight of the season has been their opening day win at Southend and their 5-1 thrashing of Dagenham and Redbridge in the LDV Vans trophy in the week.
John Finnigan (left) has plenty of lower league experience, mostly with Lincoln City where he clocked up 133 appearances for the Imps. Finnigan is a skilful midfield player who started his career at Nottingham Forest - proven at this level and will need to be kept quiet if Town are to have any success in this game. Grant McCann had a trial with the Mariner at the start of the 2002/03 season under Paul Groves. He was then with West Ham, and was close to signing for the Mariners. Since then he has played all his football with the Robins, becoming a firm fans favourite playing down the left hand side of midfield. McCann has a decent cross and can also score the odd goal or two - with a Couple to his name this term already. JJ Melligan sounds more like a DJ than a footballer but has made a solid start to life with the Robins. Melligan is an attacking midfielder who started his career with Wolves and was part of the Championship winning Doncaster Rovers side of last season. He moved to Cheltenham in a permanent deal in the summer costing £25,000.
Steve Guinan (left) experienced striker who has turned out for Forest, Darlington, Bury, Burnley, Crewe, Halifax, Plymouth, Scunthorpe, Cambridge and Shrewsbury. Last season he enjoyed his most successful season yet wit Hereford United - helping them into 2nd place in the Conference and banging in 25 goals for the club. Good at holding up the ball and bringing others into play, Guinan has had an indifferent time so far at Whaddon Road, with just one goal in nine appearances. But with all the experience he has, the goals are bound to come sooner or later. Hopeful Town will make it later.
Town will welcome back the likes of Andy Parkinson, Dean Gordon, Jason Crowe, John McDermott, Ashley Sestanovich and Justin Whittle to their starting lineup. In fact, the side is likely to be the same that played at Cambridge last Saturday.
The main injury worry for Town is in midfield where Terry Fleming and Thomas Pinault have both collected knocks and are doubts
Meanwhile Slade must decide whether to play Colin Cramb who scored on his debut on Tuesday. Chris Williams has returned to Stockport, whilst a decision is yet to be made on Darren Mansaram regarding his loan with Halifax. Cramb may well drop to the bench with Reddy, Parkinson and Sestanovich as the front three.
John Ward is still without the services of striker Kayode Odejayi for the trip to Cleethorpes. He received a knock to his knee during their game with Wycombe last weekend.
Michael Taylor is another player missing, but the good news is that forward Martin Devaney is excepted to play despite not training for much of the week. Elsewhere, Cheltenham are expected to keep the same side that demolished Dagenham in the week.
Daryl Clare (left) played 4 games for Cheltenham in a brief loan spell in the 2000/01 season when Lennie Lawrence was the Mariners manager. Clare did not manage to score in those games but was keen to secure a permanent move to Whaddon Road, but that did not materialise and he eventually joined Boston United the following summer.
Fishy prediction: A 1-1 draw despite the prospect of three successive league wins for Town.
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