Crewe travel down to Whaddon Road this weekend in search of a first back to back victory since February.
Perhaps Cheltenham is the best place to get that victory too. The Robins have failed to win at home in their last five home games this season, with their only win at Whaddon Road coming on the opening day of the season.
They have also seen their manager walk out on them as John Ward left to take the reigns at Carlisle. Keith Downing has been left in temporary charge as they search for a new manager.
Their league form hasn’t been too great either. Favourites to go down pre-season, they are slowly living up to their odds. After a faily steady start with two wins and a draw in their first six games, they have slowly fallen into the relegation zone. No win in the league in seven games means that only Millwall and Port Vale keep them off the foot of the table.
For Crewe it’s the perfect chance to put a bit of day light between us and the relegation zone. We’ve sat too close for comfort in recent weeks and a win could take us to the dizzy heights of 14th.
Keith Downing told the Cheltenham official website:
‘It should be an exciting game and we are looking forward to it. Crewe will be buoyant after beating a decent Luton side last week and they have some good young players. It will be a fascinating game but one that we are really up for.’
Cheltenham Town Team News:
Cheltenham virtually have a fully fit squad, with only Scott Brown (broken leg) and Sam Foley (pelvis) ruled out.
Player to watch: Damian Spencer
It’ll be the job of Chris McCready to keep the big powerful Damian Spencer quiet tomorrow. At 6ft 1′ and 14st, there’s a lot t be worried about.
Spencer has scored three goals in 8 games this season, including a winning double against Hudderfield earlier in the season where Cheltenham won 3-2.
Crewe Alexandra Team News:
Crewe will be without Steven Schumacher, George Abbey, Julien Baudet, Nicky Maynard and Lee Barnard. Ryan Lowe is a major doubt despite returning to training today, whilst Ben Rix should be fit enough to start.
Latest loan signing Elliott Bennett will start on the bench whilst Shaun Miller will start up front with Simon Church if Ryan Lowe doesn’t declare himself fit.
Owain fon Williams will make his debut in goals if Ben Williams hasn’t recovered from his illness in time.
Possible team: Williams, Jones, McCready, O’Donnell, Woodards, Rix, Cox, Roberts, Moore, Church, Miller.
Player to watch: Shaun Miller
If the 19 year old starts the game it is time for him to shine. After a promising pre-season he failed to take his form into the league games. However, 4 goals over 3 reserve and first team games shows his pedigree and all eyes will be on him to find goals tomorrow.
Match Facts & Stats
Crewe and Cheltenham have met just four times in their history – all coming in the last 5 years.
Crewe have won three of the four encounters with Cheltenham’s only point from the meetings coming in last seasons game at Whaddon Road.
Crewe and Cheltenham will have to overcome a rather controversial referee this weekend if they want a fair result.
Danny McDermid will be the man in the middle and he is not known to shy away from controversy. At the end of September he managed Leeds’ trip to Gillingham, where soon made it onto Leeds’ very, very, very long list of people to hate.
McDermid booked 7 players, sent off both Leeds strikers and sent Leeds manager Dennis Wise to the stands. He then added just enough time for Gillingham to score a last second equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
The drama didn’t stop there, as Leeds fans targeted McDermid as he left the pitch. As he walked (or ran) towards the tunnel, he was pelted with missiles as a group of Leeds fans tried to break the barrier to, well, question his decisions.
Dennis Wise was far from happy after the game, accusing the referee of telling him to ‘f*ck off’. At least McDermid did something right that day.
It wasn’t the first or last time McDermid had upset several thousand people in one go. A few days later he was to blame for Swindon going down to a 2-1 defeat (or so they say).
Also on the list of his calamities is; sending off a Colchester’s Duguid before reversing the decision after realising he hadn’t been booked. He sent of Salisbury’s Tom Bond for a professional foul when Bond was not actually the last man. He blew for full time after witnessing a Crawley player handball inside the box against York City. Former Notts County manager Steve Thompson said McDermid was the worst referee he had ever seen whilst Oldham manager John Sheridan blasted him for failing to book Yeovil’s Chris Cohen after a reckless challenge.
And they’re just the highlights.
The Alex and Cheltenham are almost certain to be in for an interesting afternoon on Saturday. McDermid has so far given out 22 yellows and 4 reds in 6 games this season.
Last year, in his first league season, he gave out 96 yellows in 26 games, with four sending offs.
His assistants will be Mr A Davies and Mr M C Dexter with Mr N Radford as the fourth official.
Cheltenham 1-1 Crewe
Crewe vs Yeovil – 03/11/2007