Match Preview: Cheltenham Town (A)
EFL League Two
LCI Rail Stadium
Monday, December 26, 2016 – KO 3pm
Harry Taylor and Jamal Campbell-Ryce are closing in on a return to fitness while James Pearson (knee) is a long-term absentee. Tom Champion missed last Saturday’s defeat to Stevenage.Team News:
Michael Gash (knee), Shaun Batt (hamstring) and Ben Tomlinson (quad) are out for the season.
The two sides have not met since March 2013 when Cheltenham left Underhill with a point from a 0-0 draw.Last Time We Met:
The draw extended Barnet’s unbeaten run at home to seven games as the promotion-chasing Robins were thwarted in their quest for three points.
Kaid Mohamed came closest to winning it for the Gloucestershire side, hitting the post, while Jon Nurse, Mark Byrne and John Oster had the Bees’ best chances.
Vastly-experienced manager Gary Johnson, 61, is in his second full season in charge of Cheltenham after guiding the Robins to the Vanarama National League title last season.Manager:
He was appointed boss in March 2015 with Cheltenham two points from safety in League Two.
Johnson was unable to save the Robins from the drop but was allowed to rebuild the side in his own image and Cheltenham became the first club since 1989 to win the National League title the season after being relegated.
In doing so, Johnson also became just the second manager to win multiple National League titles.
His previous success came at Yeovil Town when he won the Football Conference in 2003. In the first of two spells at Huish Park, Johnson won the FA Trophy, Conference and League Two.
When he returned in January 2012, after stints at Bristol City, Peterborough United and Northampton Town, he helped the Glovers into the Championship for the first time in their history by winning the League One Play-Off Final.
In total Johnson – whose son Lee is now Bristol City boss – has managed more than 1000 league games.
Forward Billy Waters, 22, has discovered his shooting boots since moving to Cheltenham from Crewe Alexandra ahead of last season.Dangerman:
The Epsom-born attacker netted two goals in 25 league appearances for Alex but struck 11 times last season as the Gloucestershire side won the Vanarama National League title.
Waters has built on that return again this season, scoring ten times in all competitions already – three of those in his last four.
Twice a standby for Wales’ Under-21 side, Waters was capped by England C while in the National League last season.
In three years as a professional at Crewe Waters struggled for regular game time and was limited to 12 league starts.
Midfielder Sam Deering made 70 appearances for Barnet across two spells between 2011 and 2012 after initially joining on loan from Oxford United.Connections:
The diminutive playmaker spent two years at Cheltenham after leaving Barnet and clocked up 77 appearances for the Robins without scoring.
Current Chelsea defender Michael Hector spent six months on loan at Underhill during the 2011/12 campaign, scoring twice from centre-back in 31 outings while on loan from Reading.
He later made 20 appearances for Cheltenham Town in the second half of the 2012/13 campaign, scoring once.
Another centre-back, Michael Townsend, moved directly to Barnet on loan from Cheltenham during the 2008/09 season, making 15 appearances as a Bee. He turned out 146 times for the Robins.
Also: Martin Allen, Carl Muggleton, Craig Dobson, Lloyd Owusu.
Cheltenham ended a four-match losing streak last time out with a 2-1 win at Morecambe in EFL League Two.Last Time Out:
Peter Murphy put the Shrimps ahead at the Globe Arena after six minutes. The game hinged on an incident shortly before half time which saw Morecambe’s Alex Kenyon dismissed for flicking a leg out at Kyle Storer.
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley also got his marching orders in the melee which followed. In the second half Cheltenham levelled when Waters stabbed home from close range.
A minute later he turned provider, crossing for Harry Pell to head home the winner.
Griffiths; Parslow, Downes (c), O’Shaugnessy; Dickie, Pell, Storer, Munns, Cranston; Wright, WatersCheltenham Town (3-5-2):
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