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Why there is no need for panic stations yet at Cheltenham Town amid relegation fears

Optimism is fading at Cheltenham Town after a run of nine league matches without a victory has drawn them closer to the relegation zone but its too early to mentally consign them to relegation.

Only four points separate the Robins from the drop zone and they face promotion contenders Wigan Athletic, Sunderland and Wycombe Wanderers respectively in their next five games, but these won’t be the fixtures that seal their fate.

Cheltenham missed the opportunity to accumulate points ahead of such a gruelling set of fixtures, after sacrificing the lead in three straight draws against Oxford United, Burton Albion and Charlton Athletic respectively.

Performance levels have been relatively strong but a lack of conviction in front of goal has cost the Robins heavily. Cheltenham have scored just three times from their last 43 shots since the turn of the year – a conversion rate of just 7.1%.

Michael Duff will be hoping that the winter acquisitions of Dan Nlundulu, Charlie Brown and Kion Etete will help improve their record in front of goal.

Nlundulu has started in each of the Robins’ last three matches and opened his account for the club in the draw against Charlton. Etete featured from the bench in their latest defeat at Rotherham United, while Brown is yet to play a single minute.

There will be no respite for the seven new arrivals who’ll be thrown in at the deep end against three of the top four in the space of 10 days. Cheltenham lost 2-0 and 5-0 against Wigan and Sunderland respectively and succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at home to Wycombe earlier in the season.

Many are expecting very little to change in terms of results in the next set of fixtures against the heavyweights of the division. Surviving this period without total humiliation is vital for Cheltenham as they look to revive their season with a series of winnable games in the final stretch of the campaign.

The Robins will meet relegation candidates Crewe Alexandra, Doncaster Rovers, Morecambe, AFC Wimbledon and Gillingham during the final two months of the season.

Cheltenham’s status in League One won’t be sealed against the big boys. The games against the sides around them is going to be the decisive period in their quest to fight off relegation.

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