FOOTBALL League Two Sport

Michael Duff on Barrow’s “warning shot” and Cheltenham Town’s attitude at the top of League Two

Cheltenham Town boss Michael Duff says his side are not “overthinking” their position at the top of League Two and are looking forward to avenging their loss to Barrow on Tuesday evening at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium (19:00 kick-off).

Duff’s side beat Exeter 1-0 last time out and are looking to build momentum tomorrow evening as they look to keep their spot at the top of the league.

However, Duff doesn’t want the league position to impact the way his side is performing currently.

“There’s no time to overthink anything,” Duff said. “As soon as one game is packed up, win lose or draw, you’re quickly moving onto the next one. Don’t overthink it, footballers aren’t particularly good when they have to think!  It was a good result we enjoyed the result up the M5 and now it’s straight focusing on Barrow.

Cheltenham are flying high at the moment and opposing teams will be wanting to target the Robins but Duff is adamant again that nothing will change the way his team approaches games.

“Other people might raise their game more but it shouldn’t affect us and what we do,” he said. “The season’s showed us enough times that it you’re not quite at it, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing top middle or bottom, the gap between the top and the bottom, more so than ever, is minimal. 

“Being top of the league is a carrot for the players but ultimately it’s what we do. It is boring but it’s genuinely the way that we’re working. At the start of the season we put a run of six games together and we were trying to hit a points target. That’s all gone out of the window now. We’re just trying to beat what’s put in front of you.”

The next challenge for Cheltenham is Barrow, a side that “thumped” them 3-0 earlier on in the season. Despite sitting 22nd in the league, Duff still sees them as a challenge.

“That game encapsulates what I’m trying to say,” he said. “We went to Barrow and that’s been the one game this season where we were well and truly thumped. The Bradford game at home, we weren’t particularly good but we didn’t get thumped.

“The Barrow game, we were nowhere near it. If you look at the league table and you look at that game and you’d think it had been turned on its head. They’ve just won two out of two and they’ve kept two clean sheets.

“I think Rob Kelly has been in charge for eight games this season and they have won five of them. That’s not a bottom half team, that’s play-off chasing form in those eight games. The game that we had against them should be the warning shot for the players. They shouldn’t need any more warning about what’s coming because they felt the full wrath of it in December.” 

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