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INTERVIEW: Coley hopes for defender boost for trip to Cheltenham

Couple could return for massive game in relegation battle

9 February 2023


INTERVIEW: Coley hopes for defender boost for trip to Cheltenham

Couple could return for massive game in relegation battle

9 February 2023

John Coleman is waiting on late fitness tests on a couple of defenders for Saturday’s League One trip to Cheltenham Town as they look for a vital win.

While Harvey Rodgers is suspended following his sending off in the 1-1 draw with Port Vale, Coleman hinted that maybe Michael Nottingham or Mitch Clark could be back in the frame, providing they prove themselves fit tomorrow. Mo Sangare came through an hour after his long-term injury at Vale Park.

However, Coleman is not afraid of using the youngsters with teenagers Aaron Pickles and Connor O’Brien making their league debuts against Vale and acquitting themselves well.

“Hopefully we will have a couple back at the weekend, we are waiting on news on a couple,” said Coleman. “The injured players are desperate to get back playing and when they are ready they will play, it’s good to have those type of characters in the squad.

“I spoke to Aaron before the game and asked if he was nervous and he said a little bit which was understandable but he really enjoyed it. He will learn from it and come on from that brilliantly.

“And young Connor is a bit different as he has been exposed to a little bit more of men’s football with going to Radcliffe and I know they have been delighted with him, he is a great kid. I know if you ask him to do a job, he will do it.

“We have got lads who, if they are good enough they are old enough, and we have some good lads coming through the ranks. There has been a lot of hard work by a lot of people at the club to try and develop a player for the first team and that shouldn’t be underestimated.

“I know when the youngsters come in, they never get done for want of trying.

“You saw how much it meant to them all getting a point on Tuesday and hopefully we can go one step further on Saturday and get a win.”

Cheltenham are in 18th place in the league, three points and a game ahead of 22nd placed Stanley.

The Robins haven’t won in the league in 2023 – their last league win was 29th December.

While the Reds could make sure Wade Elliott’s men remain embroiled in the relegation battle with a win at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium, Coleman knows Cheltenham will believe they can put some space between themselves and the bottom four with victory.

“I am sure they are thinking they can put daylight between us and them. They have had some good results this season and it will be tough – but we expect every game to be that way,

“We can’t go and try and defend for the next 19 games and hold our breath we have got to try and dictate the play, force results, for our own peace of mind.”

The Robins are the lowest scorers in the league with 23 goals while Stanley have scored just two more.

“It has been a worry that we haven’t scored anywhere near the goals that we should have done,” added Coleman.

“The worry has been in the last couple of games, the drop off in the expected goals, and we have got to get back to making more chances, getting more people in the box, having more shots.

“We have got to get back to being more of an attacking threat, we have the players who can do that and hopefully when the new lads bed in more they will appreciate it more.

“One of the big things at the moment is nerves and we have to play with more freedom, more off the cuff and relax a little bit more.”

Defender Harry Perritt returns from his one-game suspension.

The full pre-match interview with John Coleman is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!

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