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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Big Match Preview

League Two
Cheltenham Town vs. Hereford United
Saturday January 9, 15:00, Whaddon Road

Two basement division strugglers clash in the Cotswolds this weekend as Cheltenham and Hereford face one another with three precious points up for grabs.

Both sides were relegated from League One last season but a second successive fight against the drop wasn't expected this term. However, with the two sides in 21st and 20th respectively in the League Two table, another demotion is not impossible.

For Town, this match offers the chance for a first home win for new boss Mark Yates. The former Cheltenham player left Kidderminster to re-join his old club last month.

It brought an end to the disrupting saga involving former boss Martin Allen, who was suspended and subsequently cleared over making alleged racist remarks to a member of the public.

Caretaker Jon Schofield oversaw a slide down the table for the Robins, who have won just two of their 11 games at Whaddon Road this season.

However, impressive away results with a 2-0 win at Dagenham and 1-1 draw at Bradford suggest Yates is beginning to turn things around.

Much of the Gloucestershire outfit's hopes are pinned on top scorer Justin Richards, who has bagged eight goals so far this term. Veteran forward Barry Hayles has also chipped in with five goals to his name this season too.

New Cheltenham boss Mark Yates is looking for his second win in four games

They face a Hereford side who, under John Trewick, have struggled badly for any kind of form on the road. The Bulls have recorded just a single away win, at mid-table Northampton, and have been beaten seven times.

It's been a baptism of fire therefore for Trewick, formerly the assistant to long-serving boss and now club chairman, Graham Turner.

Their predicament has not been helped either by the postponement of recent home games against Lincoln and Crewe. This, along with other sides around them picking up results, has seen them drop to within seven points of the relegation zone.

Star performers this season include ex-Southend striker Leon Constantine and midfield man Marc Pugh, both notching six goals this season.

Other notable names include former Derby striker Lee Morris and Kenny Lunt, who has experience in the Championship with Crewe and Sheffield Wednesday.

Saturday's match is one neither side can really afford to lose, and much will depend on whether Hereford's enforced break leaves them rusty or fresh for this six-pointer.

If it's the former then, coupled with Cheltenham's recent good form under their new manager, a third home win of the season could well be heading Town's way in a tight contest.

Nobes' Prediction: Cheltenham Town 1 Hereford United 0

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