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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Match Preview: Cheltenham Town v Shrewsbury Town

Steve Cotterill takes his Shrewsbury Town side to his former club as the visitors seek to go three league games unbeaten.

Steve Cotterill has a long affinity with the Robins. Not only was he born in the town, but the 57-year-old began his footballing career as a player with Cheltenham in 1986 – managing just nine appearances and scoring once.

He became Cheltenham manager in 1997 and in a highly impressive five-year stint, took the club from non-league to the old Second Division as well as guiding the side to the 1998 FA Trophy.

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Furthermore, Cotterill managed the current Cheltenham boss Michael Duff whilst he was in charge of Burnley. But despite the mutual respect between both managers, and Cotterill’s ties to Cheltenham, he has been at pains to point out that three points on the road remains his firm focus.

He must decide whether or not to hand Josh Vela his first league start in over a month. The midfielder has recently recovered from a knee injury and lasted 90 minutes against Wigan last time out.

Goalkeeper Marko Marosi and defender Matthew Pennington are available after testing positive for COVID-19. Josh Daniels (ankle) remains absent, whilst Cotterill has revealed an unknown member of the squad faces a late fitness check.

These sides meet for the first time since Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro scored the games only goal in April 2015. Town boast an excellent head-to-head record against Cheltenham – they are unbeaten in the last ten meetings, and have only lost five of the previous 16 fixtures.

Robins boss Michael Duff could be without midfielder Ellis Chapman due to a groin problem. Defender Will Boyle has been absent for a number of weeks due to a torn ligament in his ankle, whilst Charlie Raglan is out with a knee problem.

Wolves loanee Taylor Perry remains on the treatment table and Callum Wright will not be available until Christmas.

Cheltenham, who recorded a 1-1 draw against Portsmouth in their last league encounter, currently occupy 16th place.

Possible Line Ups

Cheltenham Town

20. Flinders, 2. Long, 4. Pollock, 6. Freestone, 17. Blair, 8. Sercombe, 7. Thomas, 28. Crowley, 3. Hussey, 9. Vassell, 10. May

Subs: 1. Evans, 11. Chapman, 14. Williams, 21. Joseph, 24. Horton, 26. Barkers, 27. Norton

Shrewsbury Town

1. Marosi, 5. Pennington, 4. Ebanks-Landell, 6. Pierre, 17. Bennett, 7. Whalley, 16. Davis, 3. Leahy, 23. Nurse, 11. Udoh, 12. Bowman

Subs: 9. Cosgrove, 13. Burgoyne, 14. Ogbeta, 15. Pyke, 18. Bloxham, 23. Nurse, 24. Leshabela

Other League One Fixtures

Accrington V Sheffield Wednesday
Charlton V Plymouth
Crewe V Gillingham
Doncaster V Lincoln
Fleetwood V Morecambe
MK Dons V Burton
Portsmouth V AFC Wimbledon
Rotherham V Cambridge
Sunderland V Ipswich
Wigan V Oxford
Wycombe V Bolton

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