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Grimsby v Cheltenham Preview

By: Sam Kinnaird
Date: 15/01/2010

AFTER what seems like an eternity the football season will finally resume when fellow strugglers Cheltenham visit Blundell Park for a relegation six pointer which the Mariners cannot afford to lose.

Home > 2009-2010 Season > Previews > Cheltenham (h)

Who are they?

Their History

The Robins were formed in 1887 and joined the now Conference division in 1985. They were relegated the following season but found themselves promoted back to the Conference in 1997. Cheltenham were finally promoted to the Football League in 1999, and after two mid table finishes were promoted to League One in 2002 under Steve Cotterill who left for Stoke City after the impressive job he had done at Whaddon Road. First team coach Graham Allner took over the hot seat but was sacked just six months later as Cheltenham sat rooted to the bottom of the table. He was replaced by Bobby Gould who could not stop the slide into League Two, and he resigned shortly into the following season as the side struggled once again. Experienced assistant manager John Ward was given the task of stopping the rot, and managed to do so with some inspired signings and he managed to turn the club around. After a good run in the 2005/6 season, Cheltenham found themselves in the play-offs, beating Wycombe in the semi-final and of course Grimsby in the final. Ward had done the impossible and had taken the club back to League One on a shoestring budget, he was linked with jobs at a higher level as a result and the Robins would have a tough task of holding on to him. Despite being nailed on for relegation by the bookies, Ward kept the club in League One and Cheltenham finished the season in 17th position, a wonderful achievement. Ward inevitably left early into the 2007/8 season, moving to fellow League One side Carlisle where he had a far bigger budget to work with. He left the club in 23rd position in the table and staring down the barrel of relegation, and caretaker manager Keith Downing slowly began to pick up results which included an impressive league double over Leeds United. Survival was assured on the final day with a 2-1 win over Doncaster Rovers, which denied Rovers automatic promotion. Martin Allen took the full time job early into the 2008/9 season, and a poor run of 15 games without a win added to the ten-point deduction for going into administration meant the Robins were relegated back to League Two in the summer. Allen began the season with a 2-1 win over the Mariners, but was sacked in December after some off-field issues. Kidderminster boss Mark Yates took over the manager’s job soon after.

This Season.

The change of manager has certainly unsettled things at Whaddon Road after a decent start with wins over Grimsby, Rochdale and Bury in the early part of the season. Bradford won 5-4 at Whaddon Road back in August in an incredible game which saw the score at 3-2 to Bradford after only 20 minutes. Heavy defeats against Accrington, Crewe and Torquay have meant the side has slowly slipped down the league and are only two places and six points above the Mariners. Summer signings included Robins legend Julian Alsop, the 26 year old signing on a free from non-league, Tottenham winger David Hutton, veteran striker Barry Hayles and loanee Oliver Bozanic. The Robins top scorer is striker Justin Richards.

Former Players.

Notable ex-Cheltenham players include Steve Cotterill who went on to manage the club, Grant McCann and Martin Devaney. But perhaps the most famous was Scottish forward Andy Gray who now commentates for SkySports. Gray enjoyed a glittering career with the likes of Aston Villa, Everton and Rangers and earned 20 caps for Scotland. He played for the Robins in the 1989/90 season at the twilight of his career and scored six goals in 29 games for the club before he retired at the end of the season. After hanging up his boots he went into coaching with Sheffield Wednesday before going on to work for Sky, where he has become a mainstay alongside his commentating ‘other half’ Martin Tyler.

Key Man.

Shane Duff. 27 year old defender Duff has played for Cheltenham since beginning his career in 2000, playing nearly 200 games for the club in the process. He is the younger brother of Burnley defender Mike Duff. Shane has one under-21 cap for Northern Ireland and spent time on loan with non-league Evesham in 2002 before becoming Cheltenham’s Player of the Year in the 2004/5 season. Duff spent most of last season injured but came back late on in the campaign and showed the true fighting spirit that the club had despite administration and the inevitable relegation.

That was the game that was

Grimsby 1-0 Cheltenham (21 April 2006)

A chilly Friday night fixture saw the Mariners earn a priceless victory of fellow promotion hopefuls Cheltenham at Blundell Park. A Gary Jones header mid-way through the second half from a Curtis Woodhouse free kick earned all three points for the home side. Although both sides had chances to add to the scoring but didn't take them. A crowd of nearly 6,000 saw Town leapfrog Leyton Orient into third place in League Two and left them on 76 points with two games remaining in the campaign.

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Team News


  • The enforced rest has left just Adrian Forbes (leg) and Robbie Stockdale (hernia) on the treatment table.
  • Defender Ashley Eastham has returned to his parent club Blackpool.

  • Striker Justin Richard has been struggling with tonsillitis but should be fit.

  • Defender Lee Ridley is injured.
  • Squads

    1GKNick Colgan
    2DFRobbie Stockdale
    3DFJoe Widdowson
    5DFMatthew Heywood
    6MFPeter Sweeney
    7MFAdrian Forbes
    8FWNathan Jar man
    9FWAdam Proudlock
    10FWBarry Conlon
    11MFDanny Boshell
    12DFJamie Clarke
    13MFNick Hegarty
    14MFPeter Bore
    15DFMatthew Bird
    16DFPaul Linwood
    17MFGrant Normington
    18FWChris Jones
    19MFMichael Leary
    20MFJammal Shahin
    21FWMichael Coulson (on loan from Barnsley)
    23MFOliver Lancashire
    24DFDamien McCrory (on loan from Plymouth Argyle)
    25DFRob Atkinson
    26FWJean-Louis Akpa Akpro
    27FWDanny North
    28FWJosh Fuller
    29FWBradley Wood
    31MFNicky Featherstone (on loan from Hull City)
    32MFMark Hudson
    34FWParis Cowan-Hall (on loan from Portsmouth)
    35GKLeigh Overton
    1 GK Scott Brown
    2 MF Dave Bird
    3 DF Lee Ridley
    4 DF Shane Duff (captain)
    5 DF Michael Townsend
    6 DF Drissa Diallo
    7 MF Michael Pook
    8 DF Andy Gallinagh
    9 FW Justin Richards
    10 MF David Hutton
    11 FW Elvis Hammond
    12 DF Kyle Haynes
    14 MF Marley Watkins
    16 DF Ashley Eastham (on loan from Blackpool)
    17 MF Josh Low
    18 MF Jack Durrant
    19 MF David Pipe (on loan from Bristol Rovers)
    22 FW Theo Lewis
    26 MF Josh Emery
    30 FW Jake Lee
    31 GK Joe Perry
    34 MF Joss Labadie (on loan from West Bromwich Albion)
    35 DF Josh Quaynor
    38 FW Barry Hayles
    39 FW Julian Alsop
    40 GK Barry Richardson
    TBA DF Ryan Keen
    TBA MF Cathal Tosh

    Head to Head

    Grimsby and Cheltenham have only faced each other six times in the past, due to Cheltenham’s time in non-league. Town have won three of the six meetings, drawing one and losing two, although they lost the 2006 Play-Off final to the Robins in Cardiff. Cheltenham have won both of the last two, but Grimsby won the three before that. Town’s biggest win over the Robins was a 3-0 win at Whaddon Road in the early part of the 2005/6 season.

    P6 W3 D1 L2 F 9 A 6

    Head-to-Head (15th The Opposition Ladder)

    Last Meeting

    Cheltenham 0 Grimsby 1 (Sat 8th Aug 2009)

    A second half fightback from Cheltenham earned them all three points over the Mariners. Grimsby were much the better side in the first half and took a deserved early lead when a great passing move ended in Barry Conlon’s close range finish. Martin Allen’s introduction of Barry Hayles at half time changed the game, with the veteran frontman setting up Lee Ridley’s equaliser before sliding home the winner with only two minutes left. Barry Conlon had a great chance to level things at the death but dragged his shot wide of the post.



    The Fishy Prediction

    It’s a massive game for both sides, but the Mariners are in desperate need of a win and may finally earn three points.

    Grimsby 2-0 Cheltenham

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