Will history be repeated as Cheltenham Town hunt first League win at Mansfield?
By James Young, August 11, 2016, gloucestershirelive.co.uk
History could repeat itself at Field Mill on Saturday, but Cheltenham Town boss Gary Johnson won't be banking on superstition to see his side to victory.
Just as in their first season in the Football League 17 years ago, the Robins travel to Mansfield for their first away game, and just like in 1999 they go there in search of their first win.
But while fans of a certain vintage will remember with fondness Neil Grayson's thunderbolt header and the celebrations of that first ever League win, Johnson is thinking ahead not looking back.
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He wants his players to build on the positives that have been shown in last week's draw against Leyton Orient and Tuesday's League Cup success against Charlton and create their own history.
"We will go into the game with the confidence of a good performance and we will stay in the here and now, rather than look at history," the Robins boss said.
"Football has got a funny way of bringing up these idiosyncrasies, but I don't think that my lads will know about that.
"There isn't going to be an easy game at this level. Mansfield got a really good result at Newport and scored a few goals too.
"But we are coming of the back of one and a half good performances out of two and are looking forward to the next game.
"Some teams aren't looking forward to games already because they've had one or two bad results or performances but that's not the case with us."
The fact that the Robins have enjoyed a solid start to the season pleases the Robins boss, given that he is without five first-team regulars due to injury and suspension.
Four of those players are midfielders and there is an argument for saying a quartet of Kyle Storer, Asa Hall, James Dayton and Jack Munns is close to being the Robins' best.
But while they have been sidelined Harry Pell and Danny Whitehead have excelled in the centre, while Amari Morgan-Smith and Billy Waters have shone on the flanks, to Johnson's delight.
"It's very pleasing that our midfield have played well. Pelly and Danny Whitehead did really well against Charlton's three in midfield," Johnson added.
"But I also felt that Billy Waters and Amari did superbly on the flanks, they worked their socks off which is encouraging as both weren't playing in their favoured positions.
"But they got back in and did their work off the ball. Charlton had lots of passes, but we created much more in terms of chances.
"We won lots of ball in the middle third and everyone played their part in keeping a compact unit. The clean sheet was very, very pleasing, they only had one shot on target in open play.
"We know that our shape looked good against a team that was three leagues ahead of last season.
"We are unlikely to have anyone back for this weekend, a few of them have got a week or so left. There won't be anyone new on the pitch or on the bench.
"I may shuffle it around as the pros that were on the bench against Charlton haven't done anything wrong. We have 14 players plus the three young lads and that's the group we are picking from."
James Jennings looking to put one over Mansfield Town
by Stephen Thirkill, chad.co.uk, 12 August 2016
Ex-Mansfield Town full-back James Jennings is looking to put one over on his former club tomorrow.
Jennings returns to the One Call Stadium with a Cheltenham Town team riding on a high after their midweek EFL Cup exploits.
The Gloucestershire side knocked out Charlton to set up a dream away tie with Newcastle.
But Jennings, who played 46 times for Stags in the 2013/14 season, knows Cheltenham must stay focused if they are to build momentum in League Two.
“We are going there on the back of a win in the cup and there is a good mood in the camp,” he said.
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“There is plenty of competition for places at the moment and plenty of incentive when Newcastle away is coming up.
“We are all fighting for places and that is a good thing.
“We have been working hard on the training ground, we got a point last Saturday and a win in midweek so we are in a good place right now. Hopefully we can get the win at Mansfield to round off the week.
“The Bristol Rovers game in pre-season gave us a wake-up call. It came at the right time and we learned a lot from that as a team and are looking to build on it.
“The games are coming thick and fast at the moment and we need to make sure we do the right things on and off the pitch.
“There are new faces defensively, we have changed a lot in recent weeks and we are looking to work hard and get the clean sheets.”
And, on a personal note, it is a game that Jennings cannot wait to play in. “It is my old club and I enjoyed success there and am looking forward to going back,” he added.
“These are the sort of grounds you want to play on and games you want to play in.
“Mansfield were one of the best spells in my career in terms of success and hopefully I will get a good reception from the crowd.”
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