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Cheltenham Town Vs Portsmouth: Michael Duff prepares team for “free hit” game against Portsmouth

Cheltenham Town continued their fantastic start to the season with a win against Exeter City on Saturday but next face the challenge of Portsmouth in the Papa John’s Trophy.

As top scorers and one of the promotion favourites in League One, the south coast side pose a serious threat to the Robins, however manager Michael Duff insisted that he’s looking at this game as a “free hit”.

“They’ve got a good manager, a good squad and a good way of playing, so we know that we will be up against it, but it’s a free hit,” he said.

“Along with Sunderland, they are the biggest team left in the competition.”

Speaking on criticism towards Portsmouth’s style of play, Duff insisted that manager Jackett still very much deserved to be in charge.

“I’ve got nothing but respect for Kenny [Jackett]. His side have scored the most goals in League One, so how anyone could be criticising their style of play is beyond me. They’re fourth in the table too,” he said.

“I think that just goes to show the size of the club and the size of the expectations that their fans carry. Fans will almost always want more, but Kenny is experienced enough and knows exactly where his team are at.”

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It was also confirmed that first team regulars Charlie Raglan (ribs), Liam Sercombe (groin) and Chris Clements (calf) are likely to miss out on Tuesday evening, while academy prospect Callum Ebanks (groin) will also spend time on the sidelines after injuring himself in a youth side game at the weekend.

“We’ll be bare bones tomorrow. There’s quite a few carrying knocks, so we’ll patch up and we’ll put out the strongest team possible because we obviously want to be competitive and try to win the game, as we have done in every other game this season,” Duff said.

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