Cheltenham Town Promotion Push Continues in Their Best Ever Start to a Football League Season

Cheltenham Town Promotion

Cheltenham Town have had a terrific start to the season in their promotion push. Michael Duff and his side are firmly in the groove after recording their best ever start to a Football League season. The Robins are clearly showing no signs of a play-off hangover as they look to go one better this time around.

The Robins sit second in the League Two table collecting 32 points from their first 16 league games. They are playing some excellent football and picking up results in the crucial matches. Cheltenham’s most recent clash was with promotion rivals Exeter City and the Robins came out on top winning 5-3.

Michael Duff’s side are full of confidence and they are determined to catch the leaders Newport County. Duff’s side are a point behind the leaders but like the Robins, Newport are also enjoying their best ever start to a football league season.

The Robins are built on solid foundations and Duff has been astute with his transfer business. Cheltenham have a much stronger squad than last season and they are using the heartache of the last campaign as a tool to succeed this time around.

Cheltenham Town Promotion Hopes Bolstered in Best Ever Start to a Season

Ten Wins From Their First 16 Matches Has the Robins Flying High

Cheltenham have been excellent in League Two this season. 32 points from 16 matches is an excellent return and Duff has certainly got a tune out of his players. His team are playing some excellent football and are proving efficient in both areas.

Saturday’s resounding victory over Exeter City saw Cheltenham come from behind to thrash a fellow promotion rival. Confidence is through the roof after that display and certainly something to carry forward throughout December. Michael Duff has an efficient team determined to succeed and understandably the fans are optimistic.

They are in excellent form winning five of their last six matches. That run of games includes hard fought victories over Bradford City, Carlisle United and Walsall. The Robins are difficult to play against and certainly Michael Duff has belief in the squad he has assembled.

Cheltenham Build From the Back With Duff Settled on 3-4-3

Since Michael Duff became Cheltenham manager, he has grown into the role and asserted a formation designed to be solid and play an attractive brand of football. Duff has ticked all those boxes with the back three working a treat.

A solid back three allows the defenders to start attacks and bring the midfielders into play. However, Duff also relies on his wing backs to put crosses into the forward areas for his strikers.

Duff also ensures a free-flowing midfield with two centre midfielders designed to dictate the play and bring the forward line into play. It’s a well-balanced system which has worked to perfection so far this season.

A key component of their success this campaign has been a stable defence. The Robins have a settled back three which has played together for much of the this season. Will Boyle, Ben Tozer and Charlie Raglan have been ever-presents defensively allowing a strong partnership to form. A huge plus for Michael Duff.

Other ever-presents this season include new signings Liam Sercombe and Andy Williams.  Sercombe has been outstanding in the heart of the Cheltenham midfield and while his partner may have changed, Duff has started him in every League Two match. His ability on the ball as well as his defensive awareness has endeared him well to the Cheltenham coaching staff and the fans.

Only Exeter City Have Scored More League Goals Than Cheltenham

The settled system instilled by Michael Duff is reaping rewards. Only Exeter City better Cheltenham’s 29 league goals so far this season. They average just under two goals a game. They are efficient in the opponent’s box when it comes to converting chances. More importantly, the goals are spread across the side.

Cheltenham’s top scorer this season is experienced striker Andy Williams. He has fitted into the team well having helped former club Northampton Town beat the Robins in last season’s play-offs. Williams has six league goals from 13 shots on target. An impressive return for the striker who seems to be getting better and better at 34. His performances have been excellent and unsurprisingly, the striker has constantly led the line for Michael Duff.

It isn’t just Williams finding the net; Cheltenham’s three centre halves have six goals between them. Will Boyle has three of those and he has developed into a top centre-back under Michael Duff. Ben Tozer has two while Charlie Raglan has one. Impressive statistics for the centre-backs who have matched the club’s top scorer as a trio.

The Robins Possess a Secret Weapon Which Is Causing Havoc Across League Two

Tozer in particular is influential in more ways than one. The centre-back has three assists in the league and six in total.

He is their secret weapon and his powers are causing teams havoc defensively. Tozer has a dangerous long throw which has produced goals on several occasions for the Robins. Teams are struggling to deal with the dangerous throw in and ultimately Cheltenham are profiting.

Only Chris Hussey has more League Two assists than Tozer this season. The long throw has been a major part of their record breaking start to the season. It is a difficult one for teams to defend and Cheltenham have practiced several routines on the training pitch to perfect it. Credit must go to both Tozer and Michael Duff for the hard work put in.

Astute Transfer Business Has Also Paved The Way For Cheltenham Promotion Hopes

Michael Duff has shown he is a shrewd operator in the transfer market. He picks up players he knows can fit his system and make the desired impact. His signings solely depend on his style of play with Duff renowned for signing a mixture of youth and experienced players.

Liam Sercombe, Matty Blair and Andy Williams were the main senior arrivals and all three have been outstanding. However, Duff has also utilised his experience working as Burnley’s Under 23s manager by bringing in talented youngsters.

Finn Azaz, Tom Sang, Josh Griffiths and Elliott Bonds  have all arrived on loan for the season. All are 21 or under and all have made a positive impact at the Johnny Rocks Stadium. Griffiths has sparkled in goal for the Robins. His 15 appearances in the Cheltenham net have produced seven clean sheets. He has developed brilliantly this season and West Bromwich Albion will be keeping tabs on him.

The Baggies will also be looking at the impressive performances of Azaz. The talented midfielder has been a regular this campaign and has chipped in with goals and assists. His passing abilities and willingness to run forward have allowed Cheltenham to squeeze defences back and create more scoring opportunities.

Astute transfer business has paid dividends for the Robins and again Michael Duff deserves huge credit.

The Robins Will Hope to Maintain Promotion Push in a Busy December

A busy December has already started for the Robins having already played two rounds of games. The Robins face another six league games up to the 2nd of January. The target is to continue their record breaking run of results to start a season.

Six vital games including matches against promotion rivals. Next up for Cheltenham is improving Salford City who are finding their feet under Richie Wellens. The rest of their December programme includes fixtures against Bolton Wanderers, Barrow, Colchester United, Stevenage and Harrogate Town.

Six winnable games for the Robins as they look to maintain their terrific start. The objective is League One and Cheltenham are very much heading in that direction. A crucial remainder of the year lies ahead but come out unscathed and promotion moves a step closer.

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