Michael Duff’s Cheltenham Town are set to host an early relegation battle against Morecambe on Tuesday night.
Morecambe, who survived the drop last season on goal difference alone, have had a seesaw start to the season. They have won their last two games, including an impressive 2-1 win away at Grimsby on Saturday, but previously lost their last five and have not kept a clean sheet in seven.
Nevertheless, Cheltenham are yet to win at home this season and the fans will undoubtedly be looking for a swift change in fortunes.
With the Robins currently sitting in 19th spot, and the Shrimps just two spots above them in 17th, this match is imperative for both teams to start earning points from the teams around them.
Duff, who is currently the shortest-serving manager in the top four divisions, faces a visit from Jim Bentley who is now English football’s longest-serving manager since Paul Tisdale left Exeter in June earlier this year.
Sean Long and Chris Hussey have returned to training for Cheltenham but are not yet match fit. Duff is awaiting fitness updates on Tom Field and Craig Alcock, who both suffered knocks during the defeat to Lincoln on Saturday.
For the visitors, James Sinclair will be out of action for up to four months after suffering a complex ankle break in a reserve team victory over Mansfield Town on Tuesday afternoon.
Read our interview with Brentford loanee Tom Field here.
“We need to deliver better performances; better performances will produce better results ultimately. The players know, the staff know, and we know that the home record hasn’t been good enough. Rather than individualising and saying we have to win that game, you only get three points for winning a game, so the performances need to be better to start winning more games.
“There needs to be a connection between the club and the fans and we know what we need to deliver. Hopefully we can deliver better performances so that they make more noise and a few more start coming, that’s the plan, we know it’s not easy to deliver that, but we need them on board.
“[Morecambe] are on a little bit of a run but we’re at home and we need to deliver better home performances. It’s okay me saying that we want more people to come and watch but people want to come and watch a team that’s winning so it’s up to us to do our bit before we expect fans to turn up.”
Facts and Stats
Cheltenham have only lost one of their last nine home matches against Morecambe in all competitions (W6 D2).
Morecambe’s win over Cheltenham on the opening day of last season was their first against the Robins since March 2012.
Jim Bentley, who is currently the longest-serving manager in English football, has been in charge of the Shrimps for 2699 days – Michael Duff has been in charge for 20 days.
Tomorrow will be Bentley’s 2700th day in charge of Morecambe. Duff will be celebrating his third week at Whaddon Road.
Cheltenham and Morecambe are struggling to find the net so far this season, both scoring only 7 goals in 10 games in the League.
The Robins are also struggling in terms of discipline, racking up 17 yellow cards in 10 games – an average of 1.7 per League match.