Cheltenham Town boss Michael Duff believes Tuesday night’s game against Cambridge United will be ‘tight’ and ‘keenly contested’ given both sides’ standings in the League Two table.
The Robins currently sit second following their 3-0 victory at home to Walsall on Saturday afternoon and they welcome third-place United to the Jonny Rocks Stadium.
“They’re definitely more than a flash in the pan. I imagine they’ll be up there and around it at the end of the season,” Duff said, speaking to the press ahead of the game. “There’s a few of the bigger clubs that look like they’re starting to pick up form but I think you’d have got some good odds on Newport, Cheltenham and Cambridge being in the top three after nearly a third of the season.
“But they’re there on merit, like ourselves, and I imagine it’ll be a really tight, keenly contested football game.”
Like Cheltenham Town, Mark Bonner’s side have enjoyed a positive start to the campaign, having lost only two games so far this season (compared to the Robin’s five).
Duff continued: “I think the fact they’ve scored the most goals in the league, the fact they’ve conceded the least and they’re the only team that’s beaten the team at the top of the league probably tells you everything you need to know.
“It’s going to be a tough game. They play in a certain way. They’ve got good defenders, forwards that want to score, good legs in the middle of the pitch.
“We know what we’re up against and what a good team they are.”
Whilst Duff’s side hosted Walsall on Saturday afternoon, Cambridge had their fixture against Southend United postponed late on Friday night due to Covid-19 cases in the Shrimpers squad.
Back in September, the Robins faced a similar situation when their game against Grimsby Town was also postponed due to positive Covid tests in the opposition’s team.
“Unfortunately they were in similar circumstances to us, where they’ve had a game called off through no fault of their own,” Duff went on to say. “I wouldn’t say they’ve had much more preparation time, because I’m not sure when they found out the game was off.
“It is what it is. I’m sure Mark won’t make any excuses, he’ll just crack on. Because that’s what everyone has to do at the minute.”
The Covid-19 pandemic still continues to affect day-to-day life and in football, it’s no different.
Clubs have had to implement a number of procedures in order to keep players and backroom staff safe during these unprecedented times.
“Whether it’s players, members of staff, it affects everyone.
“James our kit man, when we went away last week, we had to kick him off the bus. He turned up, had his temperature taken and it was slightly high so we had to throw him off the bus.
“When he got a test, it was negative. But you just can’t take the risks and everyone’s living in the same world at the minute.”
Kick off is at 19:00 GMT on Tuesday evening and fans can purchase a match pass on the EFL’s iFollow app.