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PREVIEW: Cheltenham Town v Swindon Town
SWINDON TOWN travel to an in-form Cheltenham Town eager to end their rotten run at Whaddon Road, as Richie Wellens and co. look to get back on track following Tuesday nights defeat to Northampton Town. Total Sport Swindon's Rajan Hothi previews the West Country clash.
A controversial goal from former Swindon striker Andy Williams saw Northampton claim their first three points of the season, ending Town's unbeaten league start.
Swindon will be desperate to show their bounce-back ability, but they are going to have to put an end to their terrible record against Cheltenham. Michael Duff's side took four points from Swindon last season, a 0-0 stalemate at the County Ground in December was followed up with a 3-2 win for Cheltenham at Whaddon Road in April.
Cheltenham dominates the head to head record, winning nine, playing out three draws and only losing two games to Swindon since their first meeting in 2002 showcasing that a win on Saturday will be huge for the visitors.
Eoin Doyle will lead the line for Swindon again with Jerry Yates still suspended. Doyle notched on an impressive debut for Swindon last Saturday away at Exeter City but found chances hard to come by against the Cobblers on Tuesday night. The 31-year-old has played against Cheltenham twice in his career and has scored in both of those games. The Bradford loanee will be eager to add to his impressive record against the Robins on Saturday.
While Swindon will need to try and keep former Premier League striker Luke Varney quiet. The 36-year-old opened his account for the season on Tuesday night as Cheltenham ran out 2-0 winners versus Carlisle United, and he will be looking to cause the same problems that troubled the Carlisle back-line in mid-week. His experience and goalscoring instincts make him a dangerous player at this level, after scoring 14 league goals last season.
Wellens will be aware of the threat Cheltenham poses from set-pieces. Duff spends a lot of time on the training ground focusing on set-piece routines and it paid off on Tuesday as they broke the deadlock from a corner. Alongside a very strong midfield in Jake Doyle-Hayes, Max Sheaf and Ryan Broom, Cheltenham Town look a much-improved side from last season.
The striking partnership of Gavin Reilly and Luke Varney will also be looking to cause Swindon problems and they both showed how clinical they can be on Tuesday, with the pair both scoring against Carlisle. Baudry and Conroy will have to make sure they keep the duo quiet otherwise it could be another long afternoon at Whaddon Road for Town.
Cheltenham's impressive home form hasn't seen them taste defeat in front of their fans since January against Tranmere Rovers, and they'll likely come out to attack Swindon straight from the off. However, Swindon's potent counter-attacking football could see Town punish the hosts if they can find their clinical edge that was evident on the opening day but missing on Tuesday night.
Lloyd Isgrove and Keshi Anderson are both crucial to Swindon's counter-attacking football, but it's not yet known if the pair will be available for the clash, with Anderson recovering from a knee injury and Wellens revealing that Isgrove is not fully fit following the loss to Northampton.
Swindon are undefeated on the road in the league so far this campaign, and a win to break the Whaddon Road hoodoo in front of the travelling 1,500 Town fans would go a long way in proving any doubters wrong and showing that this Swindon side is different from the previous ones that have flattered to deceive. With both sides starting the season strongly, it all points towards an entertaining West Country derby.