Cheltenham Town vs Port Vale: Michael Duff believes this could have been a League One fixture if not for COVID-19

Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff believes his side would have been promoted, and upcoming opponents Port Vale would have got in the playoffs, if the League Two season wasn’t curtailed in June.

The Robins travel to Vale Park on Tuesday evening (7pm kickoff) and Duff was full of praise for the Staffordshire side.

“They’ve definitely got an identity in the way they play. The front three are really attacking and the two midfielders like to bomb on and join in as well.

“End of last season, if it had finished, I think we’d have gone up and they’d have got in the playoffs.”

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Cheltenham currently occupy third place in League Two, the last of the promotion places, though they would be a spot higher if they had beaten struggling Mansfield Town on Saturday.

A 0-0 draw was underwhelming for Duff’s side, though he was still praiseworthy of the Robins’ efforts: “The second half we were a bit more ourselves…I think that’s the fifth or sixth time in eight that teams have changed their formation to play against us.

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“I think it’s the first time this season we’ve not scored a goal, so it’s not always going to happen, but another clean sheet keeps the scoreboard ticking.”

That draw was in fact their sixth shutout in eight league games, a defensive record that could have the club competing at the right end of the table.

However the Valiants will prove tough opposition. They held Cheltenham to two draws last term and will be back to go one further and subject the Robins to their third league defeat of the season.

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“We had two tough games against them last year, two tightly contested draws,” he said.

“I don’t think Port Vale will change for us, they have a certain way of playing and do it really well.”

Kick-off at Vale Park on Tuesday is 7pm.

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