Cheltenham Town take on table-toppers Cambridge United on Tuesday night.
It’s third versus first in a massive fixture when it comes to League Two promotion as the Robins travel to the Abbey Stadium.
Cambridge have won six of their last ten games, including a 3-0 win over Mansfield at the weekend.
Taking his tally to 22 goals at the weekend, Paul Mullin will be hard to keep quiet for a damaged Cheltenham defence.
Will Boyle was a surprise omission on Saturday and is now facing a long spell on the sidelines:
“Will Boyle could be a couple of weeks or he could be out for the season. People have to step up. He’s a threat in both boxes no doubting that, someone else has to go and head the ball, that is the challenge.
Obviously, Lewis [Freestone] came in on Saturday and was unfortunate that he’s walked into a team that didn’t perform – that definitely didn’t help him.”
Scoring five goals so far this season, Boyle has so frequently found himself on the end of a Ben Tozer long-throw which has proved to be a valuable weapon.
Cheltenham’s current injury list is extensive with Boyle, Ellis Chapman, Chris Clements, Alex Addai and Liam Sercombe all currently out.
As for Cambridge, they will still have the strike force of Mullin and Joe Ironside which has returned 33 goals so far this season.
Duff will be wary of Cambridge who have been one of the standout sides in League Two this season:
“There’s a very good chance we could go to Cambridge and get beat.” said Duff, “But it’s the way you get beat – if they have a bit of magic from a Wes [Hoolahan] or a Mullin, you can handle that.
“On Saturday, the manner of the defeat was the issue. We generally haven’t gone back to back in terms of poor performances. We’ve lost games I felt we shouldn’t have lost but the character within the group is good.”
Cheltenham will be looking to bounce back from a league defeat for the first time since Barrow – which Duff believes is the only other time this season his side has been truly outplayed.
Mark Bonner’s U’s have now won 15 of their 30 league games so far this season and are strong candidates for promotion. Speaking to CambridgshireLive, Bonner said:
“As a team we’re still developing at the moment. We’re enjoying where we are and we want to keep that going.
“Where we end up this year will be dictated by our results, so in the end it’s a waste of energy concentrating too much on everything else.”
With just 16 games to go, the business end of the season is fastly approaching and Bonner will be determined to keep his players focused:
“Sixteen is a big number, we’ve got one game that’s really important now and it’s Tuesday.”