Michael Duff provides some light on where the Robins’ camp is at before their big relegation tie against Cambridge United on Tuesday night.
Cheltenham Town’s star man and top scorer Luke Varney is facing a race to full health, after the 36-year-old striker has scored some vital goals in the club’s last three victories in all competitions.
“He felt his hamstring so we’re not sure if he’s going to be fit for tomorrow. Reg is Reg (or Luke is Luke sorry), he’s delivered exactly what we thought and hoped he would; his professionalism, his attitude and he’s been in a good reign of form.
“If I’m honest, I’ve just spoke to Gav there he’s just gone for a scan now because a kick on it as well so it’s deciding whether he’s felt his actual hamstring or if it’s the kick which has prompted him to feel his hamstring.
“So, we need to find out if there’s any actual damage in there. He’s going for a scan at 11 o’clock today.”
Jordan Tillson also suffered a knock towards the end of the Robins’ defeat against Grimsby Town.
“Jordan Tillson’s felt his groin and anyone who was at the game will have seen him hobbling about at the end and he’s another one who we’re going to get a picture taken of (the injury) to see if he misses any days or not.”
Will Boyle and Sean Long are both close to full fitness after spells on the side-lines, whilst Tyrone Barnett, the top assister at the club is also a doubt for Tuesday.
On Boyle who came on as a substitute against Grimsby…
“Obviously, you want everybody fit but I think we have missed him.
“That’s a decision we need to make as staff because he’s missed a lot of football and he’s missed six weeks of training; he’s only had a week’s training so ideally we wouldn’t have liked to have thrown him on when we did but it’s a needs must scenario so we need to decide if we can get 90 minutes out of him. If we decide that, then we’ll pick him.”
Nigel Atangana and Alex Addai still face long term recovery due to serious injuries.
Signings on song
Cheltenham’s January signings have gave them more squad depth and Duff touched on how they’ve been performing so far.
“I think Charlie’s (Raglan) come in and done what we thought he would do, (Jordan) Tilly’s come in and I thought he was excellent on Saturday – he gives you a bit of steel in the middle of the pitch.
“Rakish and Billy haven’t scored the goals that we’d have liked them to but if you look at the injuries that we’ve got at the minute with Alex (Addai) and Tyrone (Barnett) and obviously Luke now I think they were important signings.”
If Varney isn’t fit for Tuesday’s clash, there are new options at the manager’s disposal.
“If you deliver performances, you keep the shirt.
“They’ve both been brought in so whether it’s Billy or Rakish, they’ve both been brought in to the group, it’s not that we don’t have belief in them – it was only a month ago that we brought them in so hopefully they can step up to the plate.”
Amoo and others
“Their front four are a threat, obviously Amoo down the right and down the middle of the pitch they’ve got good legs, and Brown down the left so we’ll need to look after them and hopefully implement our style on them.”
Aston Villa’s Rushian Hepburn-Murphy has made an attacking impact for Cambridge, but has yet to score for United.
“They’ve got good legs at the top end of the pitch and I think they’ll be four-four-two, but they’ve got good pace in the wide areas and at the top end of the pitch so that’ll be where the game’s won and lost – whether we can hurt them in wide areas or whether they can us.
“They play with two proper wingers and it’s almost four-two-four at times but shifting the ball and the play will help us.”
Points to Play for
Cheltenham Town currently lie in 19th in League Two and a win could take them nine points clear. Duff exclaimed that right now it’s all about points, points, points.
“It makes no difference to me because people will say ‘oh you can’t win away from home now’ so it’s about how many points you get and that’s all I’m interested in.
“If we had one point more from a nothing game on the weekend, then I don’t think you’d be asking the questions that you’re asking now so it’s about what we do and how many points we get will decide where we end up.
“I’ve always said it and it’s what I believe – it’s how many points we get that will decide where we finish so people can dress it up as six pointers. If we finish on 35 points then we will get relegated this season, if we get 55 points then I don’t think we will.
The challenge to the players is forget everyone else, forget all the noise on the outside and concentrate on what we’re doing and the only way of doing that is delivering performances and picking up our points.”