A relegation battle, an unsettled squad and poor performances were all part of life for Cheltenham Town before manager Michael Duff’s arrival at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Nowadays the team find themselves in the mix for promotion all thanks to the recruitment, tactics and passion created around the ground in recent years.
The squad are fifth in the League Two table only four points away from the automatic promotion spot.
Talking about the impact of Duff, the Robins’ media manager Richard Joyce said: “The manager, has got a really clear idea of how he wants the team to play.
“He gives them very clear instructions and absolutely everyone is completely drilled on every aspect of that, which is one of the reasons why we are having such a great season so far.”
Since his appointment in September 2018, Duff has been in charge of Cheltenham for 89 matches, winning 36, drawing 26 and losing 27.
However, what has been most impressive, especially this season, is the unity amongst the players which is something that has been missing over the past couple of years under previous management.
Our former u23’s coach, Michael Duff, is doing an unbelievable job at Cheltenham and he didn’t have to manage the Burnley first team.— Robert Lodge (@lodge_robert) March 2, 2020
A frustration for fans under former manager Gary Johnson was that the team featured a number of loan players, resulting in an unsettled team that would constantly change throughout the year.
But, as Joyce explains, the change in recruitment strategy has meant Cheltenham now look towards the higher end of the table.
“We’ve got a good formation that fits the players”, he said.
“The recruitment has been good and those players have fitted into that formation as well.
“Overall there is a very good team spirit so there is a number of different factors that have come together and when they all come together so well it promises success.”
One of the successes of the season has been the arrival of forward Alfie May from Doncaster Rovers in the January transfer window.
The 26 year-old has scored six goals in 12 appearances since his arrival and has become an instant fan-favourite.
Talking about the striker, Joyce said: “I don’t think many players in League Two have had an impact arriving at a club in January like Alife has.
“He’s scored plenty of goals and it’s not just his goals but his overall contribution in what he does off the ball.
“His work rate, his work ethic and also his contribution in the changing room too.”
Cheltenham will be hopeful that Duff can take the side to another promotion success since winning the National League in 2016.