Cheltenham Town FC FOOTBALL Latest Sports News League One Sport

Michael Duff on Tuesday’s League One clash against Portsmouth: “We want to be competing against these big clubs.”

Robins manager, Michael Duff, has claimed that he relishes the chance to play against big clubs like Portsmouth and that his players will be well up to the challenge.

“I used to love playing there as a player, and I’m sure the lads will too” he said. “(Fratton Park) is a really good place to go and play football, it’s a really old fashioned stadium.”

Cheltenham share the exact same record as Portsmouth so far this season, with both sides sitting on 19 points (5W, 4D, 6L). Pompey boast a better goal difference than the Robins and sit in 13th place in League One, but the away side could leapfrog them and move into the top 10 with a win.

“Every week we play a bigger team than us,” claimed Duff. “We’re constantly learning about the league and the players, and we’ll learn from the harsh defeats we’ve had and turn them into better results.”

Despite having one of the league’s smallest budgets, the Robins were able to strengthen their squad through loans and, most recently, the addition of talented ex-Arsenal midfielder Dan Crowley. The Englishman has already established himself as one of the team’s top players, having the ability to completely take over a game with his ball control and passing ability.

Crowley has already impressed fans

Pompey come into the game off the back of a 1-0 win against Bolton, who sit right between them and Cheltenham in the table on 19 points. John Marquis was the difference maker, scoring with a spectacularly improvised finish to claim all three points at Fratton Park. Marquis leads Portsmouth in goal contributions (four goals, three assists) this season and is certainly one to watch out for for the Robins.

Portsmouth ended a poor run of form with a win against Bolton on Saturday

In their last two fixtures Pompey have transitioned to a four-at-the-back system to great success. Duff praised The Cowley brothers and their tactics, and said he’s never surprised to see them winning.

“They’ve changed their shape in the past couple of games and got four points from it,” he said. “They should have won the game against Accrington too. I know some people who have worked under the Cowleys and they say their dedication and attention to detail is amazing.”

It has been a solid start to the season for the Robins, who are proving to the footballing world they can compete in the third tier. They’re also five points better off at this stage of the season than they were when they last played in League One 12 years ago.

The Robins faithful will continue their amazing support with an 115 mile trip to Fratton Park tomorrow evening, with kick-off between the two sides at 7:45PM.

Duff finished by stating that there were no new injuries amongst his squad, and that impressive Wolves loanee Taylor Perry’s injury would be assessed via scan by the end of the week.

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