Cheltenham Town v West Ham United: Five other times that the Robins have faced Premier League opponents in cup competitions

Cheltenham Town’s reward for their Carabao Cup victory at Oxford United is a lucrative home tie against Premier League West Ham.

Gary Johnson’s side will play the Hammers at Whaddon Road in just a couple of weeks after coming from behind to beat the U’s 4-3 in the first round.

It’s a dream fixture for supporters and everyone at the club due to the injection of extra-finances, a bumper crowd and potentially even the prospect of being on TV.

Cheltenham have come up against the East London outfit before and it won’t be the first time that they have faced top flight opposition.

Here are five other times where the Robins have rubbed shoulders with some of the best clubs in the country.

Fulham 2-1 Cheltenham Town- 2003/04

Back in January 2004, Cheltenham Town earned the right to face Premiership side Fulham in the FA Cup third round.

John Ward’s Cheltenham saw off both Hull City and Leyton Orient 3-1 at home to set up a trip to Loftus Road, and after a gutsy display, very nearly forced a replay.

The Robins, who were in League One at the time, took a shock lead courtesy of a fine strike from Grant McCann.

But Louis Saha scored a brace to turn the game on its head and seal the win for Fulham against a team 83 places below them.


Louis Saha eventually left Fulham for Manchester United

Nonetheless Cheltenham left West London with their heads held high after narrowly losing out to the eventual FA Cup quarter-finalists.

Cheltenham Town 0-2 Newcastle United- 2005/06

A fantastic FA Cup run led Cheltenham to the fourth round where they faced top flight giants Newcastle United at Whaddon Road.

7022 fans packed into the stadium to see the Magpies emerge victorious thanks to goals from Michael Chopra and Scott Parker.


The tie was broadcast live on BBC One and the stands were full of inflatables and balloons to see the Robins bow out respectfully after beating Carlisle, Chester and Oxford in the earlier rounds.

However it was to be a successful season overall for the Robins as they secured promotion via the League Two play-off final, defeating Grimsby Town 1-0 in Cardiff.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Cheltenham Town- 2011/12

A thrilling 4-2 second round win at Luton Town set Cheltenham Town up with a trip to Tottenham in round three.

5000 Robins fans made the long trip to White Hart Lane to witness an exciting fixture where England international Jermain Defoe netted alongside Roman Pavlyuchenko and Giovani dos Santos.

Spurs CTFC

The squad of 2011/12 were very highly regarded and included players such as Marlon Pack, Jack Butland and Luke Garbutt.

Mark Yates’ men returned to North London at the end of the season and lost again, this time to Crewe in the League Two play-off final.

Cheltenham Town 1-5 Everton- 2012/13

Just one year after their meeting with Spurs, Cheltenham struck gold again, this time drawing Everton in the FA Cup third round after a dramatic replay win over Hereford.

Live on BT Sport, the Robins were put to the sword by a very strong Toffees line-up selected by manager David Moyes.

Five different scorers helped record a comfortable victory for Everton, as stars such as Nikica Jelavic, Marouane Fellaini, Leighton Baines, Leon Osman and Seamus Coleman all found the net at Whaddon Road.

Russell Penn did manage a deserved consolation for Cheltenham, but they were well beaten on the night.

CTFC Everton

West Ham United 2-1 Cheltenham Town- 2013/14

Perhaps ironically, Cheltenham’s last meeting with a Premier League side was against West Ham.

In what was sure to be their one and only visit to Upton Park, Cheltenham performed admirably in front of 23,440 fans, 1,500 of which travelled from Gloucestershire.

Ricardo Vaz Te and Ravel Morrison scored either side of half time to put the Irons ahead but Matt Richards’ penalty gave the Cheltenham fans something to cheer.

Despite a few late chances, Cheltenham fell to a defeat in the League Cup second round and that is the stage where Gary Johnson’s side will once again showdown with West Ham in a fortnight.

Oxford United 3-4 Cheltenham Town: Five things we learned as the Robins staged a stunning comeback at the Kassam Stadium

Cheltenham Town caused an upset by beating Oxford United 4-3 away from home in the Carabao Cup.

Gary Johnson’s side battled back from 3-1 down to level the tie at three goals each before exciting new signing Mohamed Eisa curled in a beauty to settle the match.

Here are five things we learned as Cheltenham booked their place in round two and secured a first win of the season.

The new look Robins finally give the supporters something to cheer about

Despite what was perceived to be a poor pre-season, Cheltenham Town have shown steady signs of improvement in each of their two competitive fixtures.

After the late defeat at Morecambe in their League Two opener on Saturday, few would have expected a positive result at the home of a team who have hopes of reaching the Championship this season.

3-1 down at the interval, the Robins must have been listening to the Madness record which was booming out of the PA system at half time because they certainly went one step beyond in the second half.

After fighting back to deservedly draw level in 90 minutes, Mohamed Eisa produced a moment of brilliance in extra time to win the game and send his side through to the Carabao Cup second round.

It was a fantastic night for the travelling supporters, who sang their hearts out all game.

With a potential tie against Premier League opposition possible in the next round, the fans may yet have more to shout about after the draw.

Oxford were outfought and outplayed

Cheltenham’s trio of central midfielders had a superb night in Oxford.

Kyle Storer and Nigel Atangana broke up play and tackled hard to retain possession on more than one occasion and Harry Pell helped change the game when he came on for the second 45.

But one man particularly stood out in the middle and that was Jerell Sellars.

The former Aston Villa product was a constant menace to the U’s and drew a number of fouls due to his fancy footwork and ability to squeeze out of tight situations.

Sellars really excelled when playing just behind the front two and was also not afraid to help out with the dirty work when tracking back and making challenges deep inside his own half.

In truth Cheltenham dominated the midfield which was a great achievement against higher placed opposition and surely provides optimism that one area is well stocked for Gary Johnson when he looks to add to his squad before the end of August.

Cheltenham prove that they can go the distance

At Morecambe and in nearly every single friendly this summer Gary Johnson’s side have performed in the first half but not the second.

But a spirited second half performance saved them from defeat against an Oxford team who didn’t really get out of second gear.


The freekick that led to Mohamed Eisa’s opener

Mohamed Eisa, Harry Pell and Jordan Forster all had chances to net when attacking the ‘fence end’ but Danny Wright’s double was enough to force another half an hour of action.

Cheltenham have looked tired in the later stages of recent matches but managed to maintain a steady and consistent level of energy as a unit right the way through until the 120th minute against Pep Clotet’s men.

Gary Johnson looks to have found his double act

The gaffer has made it no secret that he is after another striker this summer.

Dan Holman started instead of Danny Wright but was unable to influence the game and was eventually replaced by the 32-year-old at the Kassam.

With Mo Eisa looking sharp after heading in the opener and already netting prolifically in pre-season as well as on his EFL debut, Wright showed exactly why he is currently the best partner for the former non-league hot shot.

The experienced number nine demonstrated good hold up play and like Eisa, scored a brace, surely cementing his place alongside the 22-year-old for the time being.

The pace and flair of Eisa compliments Wright’s target man stature and it is likely both will start against Crawley at the weekend.

As for Holman, everyone at the club is desperate for the National League title winning hero to rediscover his fine form but with another front man on the way his position could be under threat in the coming weeks.

Cut out the individual errors and this team will thrive

A catalogue of defensive errors saw Cheltenham ship 14 goals in pre-season and poor defending allowed Garry Thompson to steal in and grab the winner for Morecambe last Saturday.

Despite going ahead, a poorly timed challenge from the otherwise excellent Kyle Storer lead to the Oxford equaliser from the spot.


Marvin Johnson prepares to take his penalty which he scores at the second attempt

A weak header back to goalkeeper Jon Flatt was then punished by Jonathan Obika to give the hosts a 2-1 lead within minutes, even without many clear cut chances created by themselves.

The Robins have to cut out these avoidable errors if they are to climb League Two and stop conceding so many goals but the second half display from the back five was encouraging enough.

Jordan Cranston had another good game after an improved cameo versus the Shrimps and delivered an excellent cross to set up Danny Wright’s first goal.


The left back is so far answering his critics and succeeding in his mission to win over some supporters and long may that continue.

Morecambe v Cheltenham Town: A focus on the Shrimps

This coming weekend will see Cheltenham Town travel to Morecambe for their long awaited opening Sky Bet League Two fixture.

The Robins will make the long trip up to Lancashire on Friday ahead of Saturday’s meeting at the Globe Arena.


But what can we expect from their opponents on the opening day of the 2017/18 campaign?

Player to watch

There are a few long serving players still at Morecambe and one of those is 38-year-old forward Kevin Ellison.

Contrary to his age, Ellison has been one the Shrimps’ top performers since joining the club in 2011.

The well travelled winger has played for 12 clubs in his career but is fast becoming a Morecambe legend and netted nine times last season.

He is certainly one to keep an eye on and is also partial to scoring a few special goals with controversial celebrations.


Jim Bentley has brought in eight new players so far this summer, the most recent being defensive pair Steven Old and Scott Lavelle.

Amongst the other signings is vastly experienced striker Garry Thompson who returns to the club from Wycombe. The 36-year-old was on target for the Chairboys against Cheltenham during a thrilling 3-3 draw at Adams Park in April.

Thompson is joined by two other forwards including promising former Newcastle and Notts County youngster Adam Campbell as well as Vadaine Oliver from York City.


Full backs Mitchell Lund and Patrick Brough have also signed from Doncaster and Carlisle respectively.

In terms of high profile departures, highly regarded centre back Ryan Edwards has moved south with Plymouth Argyle and Paul Mullin has left to link up with David Flitcroft at Swindon Town.


The two sides first met in the FA Cup back in 2008 when Cheltenham ran out 3-2 winners in a rearranged second round tie at Christie Park.

Ashley Vincent scored twice and John Finnigan netted from the spot whilst former Robin Barry Hayles was on target for the hosts.

Cheltenham and Morecambe have met a further 15 times since and this will be the Robins’ seventh visit to the Globe Arena since it opened in August 2010.

The most recent encounter in Lancashire was last season when Gary Johnson’s side came from a goal behind to beat a 10-man Morecambe 2-1 in mid-December.

Cheltenham also emerged victorious at Whaddon Road in April, as a 3-1 victory helped stretch their unbeaten run against the Shrimps to eight games.

Harry Pell scored three of the five goals netted against Jim Bentley’s team in 2016/17 and the 27-year-old is likely to start against them once more this weekend.


Morecambe won four out of their opening five League Two fixtures last season and usually start well.

But Cheltenham’s recent form against the Lancashire outfit will give travelling Robins fans some optimism ahead of their Sky Bet League Two curtain raiser, despite a difficult pre-season.

Head to Head:

Morecambe wins- 3

Cheltenham wins- 8

Draws- 5

Fancy a bet on Cheltenham Town next season? Here are all of the latest odds for the outcome of their League Two campaign

The Sky Bet League Two season is just a fortnight away as Cheltenham Town will travel to the Globe Arena to face Morecambe in their opening fixture on August 5.

Plenty of bets will be being placed on the Robins’ fate ahead of the upcoming campaign, which is their 14th season in English Football’s fourth tier.

Here is a collation of the best odds on the outcome of Cheltenham’s 2017/18 season.

The dreaded dotted line

Last season Cheltenham Town finished in 21st in the table, just two places above the relegation zone.

Gary Johnson’s side avoided a return to the National League by the skin of their teeth and despite reinforcements arriving this summer, the departure of 16 goal striker Billy Waters could lead them towards another season of struggle.

Despite the fact we don’t want to face a similar situation come May 2018, if you fancy us for the drop and want to offset the unthinkable, then the best odds you can get on Cheltenham getting relegated at the moment is 8/1 at Bet365, William Hill and PaddyPower.

A playoff push?

On the other hand, if you are quietly confident of our chances and believe that a playoff push is possible, then 5/1 is the longest odds you can get on a top seven finish with William Hill.


Gary Johnson is no stranger to success, the 61-year-old has taken Yeovil Town all the way to the Championship in the past and was one game away from taking Bristol City to the Premier League.

Under Mark Yates in 2011/12 and 2012/13 Cheltenham lost out in the playoffs, first in the final to Crewe and then to Northampton in the semi-final a year later. If you think that we can go one further than five years ago, then 28/1 with SkyBet is your most profitable choice if you feel we can win the playoffs.

Champions elect?

League Two is arguably tougher than ever this time around as many big clubs with impressive budgets battle to earn a place in the third tier.

Cheltenham may not have the financial clout to compete with the likes of Luton, Mansfield, Lincoln and Coventry but stranger things have happened in regards to underdogs winning promotion.

Burton Albion and Fleetwood have managed it before and if you are optimistic on a top three finish and automatic promotion then 14/1 is currently the best price according to oddschecker.

For the Whaddon Road outfit to win promotion by any means then 10/1 is a good shout with Bet Victor, Ladbrokes, 10Bet and Stan James.

The Robins have never won League Two but have won the National League on more than one occasion, most recently in 2014/15. But if you believe that we can make history with a first EFL title then a whopping 56/1 with Betfair Exchange is the best bet with most markets offering 40/1.

The ‘Deadly Dans’ to find their form?

Former Robin John Marquis lead the way alongside Barnet’s John Akinde as top scorers in the division last year with 26 goals each.

Billy Waters’ 16 goal contribution for Cheltenham was the Gloucestershire sides best tally. But with the 22-year-old no longer at the club, former non-league hot shot Mohamed Eisa and Jerell Sellars from Aston Villa have been signed in an attempt to add fire to the frontline.

While no odds can currently be found on Eisa marking his debut season in the EFL with a golden boot, Sellars is priced at a massive 150/1 with Bet365 to scoop the accolade. Danny Wright was CTFC’s second top scorer in 2016/17 with 10, while former National League Golden Boot winner Dan Holman struggled with injury and could only manage two.

However the previously nicknamed ‘Deadly Dans’ managed to rack up over 5o goals between them in non-league two years ago. They are both priced at 80/1 with Bet365 to outscore any other League Two player next season.

Other Cheltenham Town League Two betting odds 2017/18

To finish top half

3/2 SkyBet

To finish bottom half

4/7 BetFair

To finish outside of top seven

1/6 SkyBet

Top southwest club

7/1 SkyBet, William Hill

(With Swindon, Yeovil, Forest Green, Exeter and Newport

SkyBet RequestABet

To win their opening three League Two games- 14/1

Lose opening three League Two games- 22/1

At least one goal scored in every League Two game- 28/1

To score the most League Two goals- 33/1

Promoted and Forest Green relegated- 125/1

To be promoted and to win the Checkatrade Trophy 750/1

Bishop’s Cleeve 0-6 Cheltenham Town: Five things we learned at Kayte Lane

Cheltenham Town won for the first time this pre-season as a hat-trick from Mohamed Eisa helped them to a 6-0 victory over Bishop’s Cleeve.

All of the first teamers available to Gary Johnson got a run out at Kayte Lane as Carl Winchester, Harry Pell and trialist Mike Fondop-Talom also netted against the Mitres.

Another trialist also featured in red and white, here are five things we learned from the Robins’ friendly rout.

1- It’s hard not to get excited about Eisa

Undoubtedly the main talking point from the match was the performance of Mohamed Eisa.

The former Greenwich Borough striker scored three first half goals before going off at half time and it looks as though Gary Johnson may have unearthed a non-league gem.

The 22-year-old also scored against Oxford City earlier on in the week and has now netted four in two games for the Robins.


Easy as you like: Eisa celebrates his first goal of the evening

Of course bigger tests against better opposition are yet to come but the Sudan-born speedster has so far shown real confidence and suave, always looking for the ball and wanting to go forward whilst driving at defenders.

Eisa ensured that it was a tough 45 minutes for Bishop’s Cleeve goalkeeper Paul Tassell, showing great pace and skill to beat a defender and then round the veteran stopper before tapping home after just three minutes.

Number two also involved beating a man before smashing underneath Tassell and the third was a deft touch into the bottom corner after a well timed run that saw him put clean through.

It’s early days, but Eisa has been the stand out man in pre-season so far.


2- Josh Thomas is handling the step up to first team football well

Former CTFC youth-team captain Josh Thomas made his second appearance since turning professional at Kayte Lane.

Playing out on the right hand side, the 18-year-old managed to deliver some good crosses in the first half, playing a part in Carl Winchester’s goal.

Thomas also offered more of a goal threat when played further forward after the interval, forcing a good save out of Cleeve’s second half keeper Timmy Griffiths, when his shot looked destined for the top corner.


We will see more of Thomas in the coming pre-season fixtures and all supporters love to see a home grown player doing well.

Fellow recently turned pro’s Matt Bower and Adam Page also featured along with current under-18’s pair Jamie Kilkenny and George Lloyd.

Lloyd is certainly someone to keep an eye out for this coming season, the forward is a regular scorer for Antoine Thompson and Pete Haynes’ Academy side.

3- It was third time lucky for Fondop-Talom

Johnson made seven changes with the half time score at 4-0 and two of those coming on were trialists Elliott Kebbie and Mike Fondop-Talom.

With the Robins seemingly on the hunt for one more striker, likely to be a target man, the athletic looking Fondop-Talom certainly looked physical enough to fit the bill.

However it was a tough 45 minutes for the 6ft 3in former Margate front-man. Despite testing Cleeve’s second half keeper twice in the early stages, Fondop-Talom blazed a close range shot at an open goal over the crossbar.

After being put through one on one, he then sliced wide with the goal gaping but finally scored after winning the ball back in the opposition penalty box, prompting ironic cheers from the supporters behind the goal.

Fondop-Talom is clearly a unit and recently scored twice for Torquay United on trial but will definitely require another look if Johnson decides to keep him at the club a little while longer.

As for Elliott Kebbie, the well travelled former Athletico Madrid man did his job at right back and hardly put a foot wrong, he is likely to play for Cheltenham again and with good reason.


4- Cheltenham Town’s defence dominated the air

With Jordon Forster, Will Boyle and Jamie Grimes as the likely first choice centre backs- it’s going to take more than a big man to bully and bombard that Cheltenham back line.

The trio won every single header whilst out on the pitch and all demonstrated good leadership and communication skills, both impressive attributes for such a relatively young set of defenders.

With Dan O’Shaughnessy and Matt Bower added to the mix, the Robins have an imposing and well stocked central defence that will surely only get better under the guidance of Aaron Downes before the Sky Bet League Two season gets underway.


5- It was business as usual for wanted man Harry Pell

Reports have been emerging all week linking Harry Pell with a move away from Cheltenham Town.

The 25-year-old is subject to interest from clubs in League One and League Two but the charismatic midfielder was his usual self at Kayte Lane.

After coming on as a second half sub, Pell and central midfield partner Kyle Storer expectedly dictated the play.

Harry Pell

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Pell was denied by Griffiths when one of his trademark driven free-kicks was parried away but did score the fifth goal with a simple rebound.

Chairman Paul Baker and Cheltenham Town have reaffirmed their intentions to keep Pell at Whaddon Road, despite the lucrative financial reward his departure would bring.

As for now, the former Hereford United and Bristol Rovers man appears to be content in Gloucestershire but you feel as though there could be tougher times ahead for the Robins in their quest to keep him from leaving the club.

Should Cheltenham Town travel abroad for a pre-season tour in the future?

With pre-season well underway most English football teams are embarking on short trips to local lower league clubs in order to prepare for their new league season.

Cheltenham Town have already travelled to Oxford City for their first warm up game and now face two very short trips to Bishops Cleeve and Evesham United.

Meanwhile National League side Wrexham are nearly 1,500 miles away in Portugal, and it’s fair to say that former Robins left-back James Jennings is enjoying their tour in the sun.

Most Premier League clubs go on cross-continental tours for pre-season. For example Arsenal are currently in Australia and will soon be in China for the International Champions Cup.

But the furthest Cheltenham will have to travel this month is 60 miles to Weston-Super-Mare, closely followed by 54 miles to Bath.


Close pre-season fixtures are practical and help prepare teams adequately with very little stress, but what harm can be done by taking a trip abroad to experience different climates and environments, not to mention opposition.

It is very well known that Cheltenham Town have a Norwegian fan club, they have made an annual visit to Whaddon Road for the past 14 years and were present to see the last home game of 2016/17 against Hartlepool United, which Cheltenham won 1-0 to secure Football League survival.

There is no reason why Gary Johnson’s side couldn’t travel beyond Britain for pre-season in future years, and Norway could be the perfect destination as it would allow our loyal Scandinavian supporters the chance to see their team at ‘home’.


It would also give other Cheltenham fans the opportunity to both holiday and watch their team, something that Oxford United supporters enjoyed in Austria last year.


Former manager Mark Yates did take Cheltenham to South Wales to face Port Talbot in 2012, but we have otherwise stayed in the South West and Midlands regions for pre-season.

Perhaps a trip further afield to foreign shores could be on the cards for Cheltenham Town in the near future.

Losing Marlon Pack was inevitable but Cheltenham Town must do all they can to keep hold of Harry Pell

Cheltenham Town midfielder Harry Pell has been subject to plenty of interest during this transfer window.

Reports suggest that a League One club has bid to sign the 25-year-old in an attempt to try and prise him away from Whaddon Road.

But despite the fact that he would command a large fee, perhaps even up to six figures, the club must do all they can to try and keep hold of the 6ft 5in midfield enforcer.

The current situation is in some way similar to when the Robins faced a battle to keep hold of Marlon Pack in 2013, a battle that was perhaps unsurprisingly lost.


Just under four years ago, Pack rejected a new contract offer and left Cheltenham to join Bristol City for around £100,000 after three years of good service to Cheltenham.

The move was right for Pack, he shone in League Two after impressing in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 campaigns where Mark Yates’ side reached the play-offs. The then 22-year-old deservedly stepped up a division and is now playing his trade in the Championship.

But this time the ball is in Cheltenham’s court. Pell recently put pen to paper on a new two and a half year contract and appears to be settled in Gloucestershire.

At a similar age and approaching what is largely regarded as a players ‘prime’, Pell is more than capable of following in Pack’s footsteps. But the well travelled box to box midfielder has more worth to a club than just as a player, and every effort should be made to keep him in the Cotswolds.


Pell is one of the club’s main characters and one of the aces in Gary Johnson’s pack. He has played a key role ever since joining Cheltenham at the start of their National League title winning campaign, scoring 16 goals over the last two seasons.

The former Hereford United and AFC Wimbledon man is versatile, being able to operate in a number of formations either in the centre or out wide and is renowned for being one of the fittest players in the Cheltenham camp.

After losing last season’s top scorer Billy Waters already this summer, Cheltenham Town must keep hold of Pell, otherwise alarm bells will start ringing with the Sky Bet League Two season under one month away.

No player is irreplaceable and Pell would command a lucrative price tag but it would be very difficult to offset the influence both on the pitch and in the dressing room that the former Charlton Athletic product brings to CTFC.

Can Mohamed Eisa become Cheltenham Town’s new Kaid Mohamed?

Cheltenham Town recently confirmed the signing of former non-league hotshot Mohamed Eisa from Greenwich Borough on a one year contract.

The 22-year-old winger or striker caught Gary Johnson’s eye with over 30 goals in his first season at Greenwich and after stepping up a division to the Isthmian South, he netted another 27 in 2016/17.

Eisa is one of a few lower league players that have been given a chance to impress in the Football League this summer.

Cheltenham Town’s League Two rivals Stevenage have brought in two former products of Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy in Danny Newton and Blair Turgott.

Newport County have also snapped up Lamar Reynolds from Northern Isthmian Division outfit Brentwood, who play at the same level as Eisa’s former southern based side Greenwich.

Comparisons can be drawn between Sudan-born Eisa and former Cheltenham Town winger Kaid Mohamed, who enjoyed a successful spell with the Robins between 2011 and 2013.

Mohamed made his name at non-league Bath City and after being released by AFC Wimbledon he went on to make 100 appearances at Whaddon Road, scoring 15 goals.

But Kaid Mohamed and Mohamed Eisa are not just similar in namesake.

Both are versatile and can play anywhere across the front of the pitch, operating as strikers and wingers.

Kaid was well renowned for his athletic ability, often exciting supporters with bursts of pace and power. His direct running was a nightmare for opposing defenders.

The old and the new: New CTFC signing Nigel Atangana battles with former winger Kaid Mohamed


The now 32-year-old earned a move to League One Port Vale after helping the Robins finish in the League Two play-off places in both seasons with Mark Yates’ side.

Despite the fact Mohamed Eisa is yet to play in the Football League, judging by his highlights he could very well have the same effect as Kaid Mohamed.

Cheltenham manager Gary Johnson may have unearthed a gem in signing the former Dartford youngster and after also capturing Jerell Sellars from Aston Villa, a formation that encompasses wingers may also be used next season as a backup option for the 3-5-2 system that Johnson is expected to deploy.

Since the days of club record signing Jermaine McGlashan and Kaid Mohamed, out and out wingers have been missing and Cheltenham Town have struggled to reach the heights of the League Two play-offs and beyond.

Having natural wide players at the club will not automatically lead to success but it will certainly allow for a change of shape and system that can give Cheltenham Town a new dimension when attacking, perhaps even giving Johnson the option to use a 4-3-3 formation.

Hopefully Cheltenham fans can see the likes of Eisa impress in their upcoming pre-season friendlies, starting at Oxford City tomorrow night.

No Romelu, no problem! Why Everton fans should be feeling anything but blue about the potential departure of Lukaku

Everton enjoyed a successful first season under the management of Ronald Koeman in 2016/17, finishing seventh in the Premier League. A place in the Europa League was their reward but the Toffees were largely indebted to star striker Romelu Lukaku who scored 25 goals, only bettered by Tottenham’s Harry Kane who netted 29.

But with such a proven and prolific forward in their ranks, Everton are extremely likely to lose Lukaku in the transfer window. Reports have already suggested that he has reached an agreement with another club.

The Toffees are guaranteed to receive a huge fee for the 24 year-old if he eventually does eventually leave Merseyside but here’s why their transfer business so far shows that they are more than capable of coping without the big Belgian.


Davy will show his class in the Premier League

Manager Ronald Koeman’s first summer acquisition was a shrewd signing to say the least.

Davy Klaassen came through the ranks at Ajax and took the mantle as one of their hottest prospects prior to his move. The 24 year-old won Dutch footballer of the year in 2016 and skippered the Amsterdam outfit last season.


Also a regular for the Netherlands, Klaassen scored 49 goals and won three Eredivisie titles during his time in Holland and is a well rounded attacking midfielder who will undoubtedly cope with the step up to the Premier League.


His signature surely indicates that Ross Barkley has been barking up the wrong tree when stalling with his contract negotiations, and his future could therefore lie elsewhere.

Koeman has picked a long term goalkeeper

It’s not just the attacking front where Everton are strengthening, but also at the back.

Jordan Pickford recently put pen to paper at Goodison Park, moving from relegated Sunderland for a fee of around £30 million- a British record for a goalkeeper.

Many have condemned the high price tag but fees are only going to rise in the present transfer market and there were plenty of other clubs lining up to sign Pickford, and with good reason.

The 23 year-old was second only to Tom Heaton in making the most top flight saves last season and has comfortably equalled other goalkeepers at higher placed clubs in terms of stats.

At a young age and on a long term contract, Everton have a safe pair of hands between the sticks for the first time since Tim Howard left the club.

The Toffees have been keen to get their business done early

Former Burnley defender Michael Keane became the fourth Everton addition already this summer.

With pre-season on the horizon, the Toffees have not come unstuck in signing players early as they look to compete amongst the highly competitive Premier League top six next year.

Another exciting English prospect- Keane joins Klaassen, Pickford, Onyekuru and Sandro Ramirez as Koeman’s quintet of summer signings so far.

Sandro, who joined from La Liga side Malaga, is expected to go some way in replacing Lukaku’s goals.

The 21 year-old helped Spain to the UEFA U21 Euro Final and scored 14 league goals in 2016/17, joining for a miniscule fee of just over £5 million. The former Barcelona youngster could be a bargain for Everton.

Goodison Park is the best place for young players

England U20’s were crowned World Champions in June, staking a claim to be called the nations next golden generation.

Four of the starting 11 in their 1-0 final victory over Venezuela play for Everton and the club are a rare and shining example when it comes to developing home grown players.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the winner in the final and he has already broken into the Everton first team on sporadic occasions despite only being 20 years of age.


Ademola Lookman, Tom Davies, Mason Holgate, Brendan Galloway, Jonjoe Kenny and Kieran Dowell join Calvert-Lewin in a hoard of promising Evertonians who have all featured in England’s youth ranks.

Under Ronald Koeman, who has a knack of developing youth, they should all continue to thrive in 2017/18.

Everton are finally a financial force to be reckoned with

With Farhad Moshiri appointed as Everton’s new major shareholder, he has vowed to give them the funds to compete with other big spenders in the transfer window and so far that has proved to be the case.

The Toffees have already spent around £90 million this summer and this represents a trend in increased spending over the last few seasons.

If Romelu Lukaku leaves, it will be for a fee of around that gargantuan amount, meaning that Everton have bulked up in all of the necessary areas using the Lukaku money wisely.

Then again, Lukaku may not leave. Either way Everton FC is in an excellent position and could very well improve on their seventh place finish next season.

Four Bristol City players that Cheltenham Town could sign on loan this summer

Cheltenham Town will be stepping up their transfer activity as the new Sky Bet League Two season gets underway in just over four weeks’ time.

Manager Gary Johnson has already signed four players so far this summer as Kevin Dawson, Jamie Grimes, Nigel Atangana and Jon Flatt joined the 13 Robins’ players already under contract at Whaddon Road.

In addition to the 17 player squad currently at his disposal, Johnson has confirmed that he is close to bringing three players in on loan.


The 61-year-old may raid former club Bristol City for temporary signings, as his son Lee manages the Championship side.

City goalkeepers Max O’Leary and Ivan Lucic both appeared for Cheltenham during pre-season last year. Johnson senior also borrowed Johnny Smith, Diego De Girolamo and Tin Plavotic for short spells during the 2016/17 campaign.

A link between the two clubs is likely to remain, so here are four Bristol City youngsters that Cheltenham Town could potentially target this term.


1- Paul Arnold Garita

A strong and athletic option, 22 year-old striker Arnold Garita would be a perfect loan signing for Cheltenham Town.

The powerful Cameroonian has already proved himself in League Two, scoring 16 goals to help fire Plymouth Argyle to automatic promotion last season.


Garita is now back at Bristol City but is very likely to be loaned out again and with CTFC needing a target man, he certainly fits the bill.

Supporters have been crying out for a physical marksman like John Akinde or Uche Ikpeazu and the Robins urgently need a replacement for top scorer Billy Waters.

2- Shawn McCoulsky

At the other end of the striking spectrum, Shawn McCoulsky offers something completely different to Arnold Garita.

The significantly smaller 20-year old was prolific last year, netting 31 goals across many levels including with Bath City and Bristol City U23’s.

City have recently tied McCoulsky down with a new contract, and clearly see a great deal of potential in the former Dulwich Hamlet front-man.

Shawn Mccoulsky

It is inevitable that Cheltenham will sign one, if not two more strikers this summer as Dan Holman and Danny Wright are currently the only forwards at the club.

Could Gary Johnson take a gamble on the exciting prospect and give him a shot in the EFL?

3- Zak Vyner

New signing Kevin Dawson is expected to operate as a wing back in a 3-5-2 system but Cheltenham are still without an orthodox right back.

Bristol City defender Zak Vyner is rated very highly by Lee Johnson and impressed out on loan at Accrington Stanley for parts of last season, also operating as a centre back.

When he returned to Ashton Gate, the 20 year-old continued to feature for the U23’s and went on to make a few first team appearances which has further increased his stock.

It would certainly be a coup for Cheltenham Town to bring Vyner back to League Two on loan and he would be the perfect replacement for Manny Onariase.

4- Lloyd Kelly

The Cheltenham Town defence is an area that still needs reinforcements.

With Jordan Cranston and Daniel O’Shaugnessy, there is no shortage of left footers at the back and signing another may seem unlikely.

But Lloyd Kelly has caught the eye at Bristol City, having captained their U23’s frequently he is in need of first team experience elsewhere.

The 18 year-old is as versatile as Vyner and can play at left back or centre back.

Lee Johnson will know that his youngsters are in safe hands with Gary, but whether Kelly’s first taste of the EFL will be at Cheltenham remains to be seen.