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Cheltenham Town’s Michael Duff on Joey Barton, Bradford performance, and Covid-19 update

Cheltenham Town’s eight-game unbeaten streak came to an end on Saturday following a 2-0 loss to Bradford City.

Goals from U’s striker Andy Cook either side of half-time gave the away side an important victory to continue their red-hot form.

Losing just once in their last 11 games, Bradford City are one of the teams to beat in League Two but Cheltenham manager Michael Duff was left frustrated by his side’s performance:

“I can think of one okay performance on Saturday.” said Duff. “If you get 10 players that don’t turn up it doesn’t matter if they’re young or old you’re going to get beat. That’s what happened.

“I don’t think we are the worst team in the world because we lost on Saturday. We are light in certain areas at the moment but no different to any other team. Loads of teams have had injuries and suspensions but you get on with it.” 

The games have come thick and fast for the Robins, having now played three of their five fixtures scheduled for February off the back of a coronavirus outbreak.

“There is hardly any training at the minute, it’s recovery, prep, recovery, prep. It’s like this for the next few weeks as well. There are certain things we didn’t do that we weren’t particularly happy with so we will just give them a reminder that’s all it is.

“Another round of testing happened this morning and as far as I’m aware there’s nothing to report. It was strange, don’t know where it came from and we tried to put a finger on it.

“We signed three players, has it been brought from elsewhere we don’t know? It seems to be on its way down again and hopefully it will stay that way.”

Michael Duff

Towards the end of Michael Duff’s 12 years at Burnley as a player, Joey Barton joined the club and the pair struck up a friendship.

Barton left League One Fleetwood Town in January after three years in charge, including an appearance in last year’s playoffs.

Now the 38-year-old has been announced as the next Bristol Rovers manager.

“I spoke to him last week!” said Duff. “I was supposed to go and watch Bristol Rovers when our game got called off a couple weeks ago so I still speak to him regularly.

“He’s a good bloke. I know there’s controversy that follows him everywhere but he’s a football man, he knows his stuff and did a good job at Fleetwood.

It could be a relationship that Cheltenham and Duff could potentially profit from, with the door now more open to getting loans from the division above currently:

“If things go to plan we might be in the same league as them! It’s always important to have good relationships with your neighbours, particularly if they are a level above which they could be.

“That’s why we try to build relationships with West Brom, Aston Villa, and Cardiff. You want to get loans from your neighbors as it works geographically so you try to build relationships all the time.”

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