As the Cobblers host Cheltenham Town in a repeat of last season’s Playoff Semi-Finals, Rubies fan Matt gives us his thoughts on what has been a stuttering start to the season and whether Mark Yates can turn things around at Whaddon Road for another shot at promotion. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @ctfcMatt.
The Rubies have had a similarly poor start to their season as the Cobblers albeit with a couple of more victories and Matt says a lack of consistency has been the main issue.
“After a pretty promising summer, in which we bought in a few new players, (Terry Gornell, Jamie Cureton, Matt Richards) to name a few, the feeling around the camp is that we had experience, and these guys knew what it took to gain promotion,” he says,
“I think most Cheltenham supporters went in to the opening game of the season high on confidence but after losing a two goal lead, and star-man Jamie Cureton to a dislocated shoulder, an opening day draw at home to Burton Albion was not a bad result at all. Since then, with a fantastic trip to West Ham United in-between, we haven’t even come close to showing the kind of consistency which is needed to gain promotion, or even replicate last season and climb in to the play-offs.”
Before the 3-0 win over Morecambe last weekend, manager Mark Yates appeared to under some pressure and fans have been split over whether he should stay and have another go at promotion. Matt says:
“It’s a tough one. His strength, without a doubt, is finding himself a player. In his past few seasons here we’ve seen plenty of players come in who look like they could cope at a higher level (Marlon Pack, Luke Summerfield, Sido Jombati) to name a few. His weakness however, this being key, is his tactics. Since his arrival, we’ve never really had a solid foundation to build on. He doesn’t always know how he wants to set up his own team, and tends to favour certain players, despite their performances, higher in the pecking order than others, which at times is frustrating.”
Matt goes on to state that the Rubies’ defence is the key thing that his side needs to work on if they’re to start moving back towards the right end of the table. He says,
“Having been hit with a few injuries early on, our problem, without doubt, has been in the defence. With the back four being different every week, we’ve shipped so many sloppy goals this season, I have started to lose count! Scoring goals definitely hasn’t been a problem this season, but like I say, conceding them has been!”
At the other end of the pitch, Jamie Cureton scored his 250th career goal a couple of weeks ago having joined the club from Exeter City in the summer but others seem to have upped their game to give Yates a welcome headache in the striker department.
“After getting hit with an injury on the opening day of the season,” Mark says, “he (Cureton) certainly has hit back with some vital goals. Terry Gornell and Byron Harrison didn’t struggle during his absence, and in my opinion, those two should be the two that start, but it’s always a luxury to have well-travelled player like Jamie at the club.”
As always, we end with our guests’ score prediction with Matt going for a narrow win for his side:
“Cobblers 1 – 2 Rubies/Robins…Harrison and Matt Richards with our two goals.”
Cheltenham Town Links:
Official Site: http://www.ctfc.com
Stadium Guide: http://www.footballgroundguide.com/cheltenham_town/