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Cheltenham Town
League One | Gameweek 31
Feb 3, 2024 at 3pm UK
Jonny-Rocks Stadium
Wycombe Wanderers

1 - 3

Taylor (58')
Taylor (87')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Grimmer (20'), McCleary (29'), Davies (49' og.)
Grimmer (37'), Butcher (60')

Preview: Cheltenham Town vs. Wycombe Wanderers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's League One clash between Cheltenham Town and Wycombe Wanderers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Cheltenham Town will be aiming to bounce back from successive defeats in League One when they host Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.

The visitors will head into the encounter four points clear of the relegation zone, and eight points ahead of Cheltenham.

Match preview

General view of Cheltenham Town's Whaddon Road from 2014© Reuters

Having collected just one point from their opening 12 games, it is a minor miracle that Cheltenham are even in contention to survive at this stage of the season. Since replacing Wade Elliott in late September, Darrell Clarke has worked an incredible job to give the Robins a chance.

However, after only losing four of 14 matches at one stage in the season, Cheltenham have lost pace by losing successive away games to promotion-chasing sides Bolton Wanderers and Derby County. The fact that they only lost both games by a single goal demonstrates the progress that Cheltenham have made under Clarke.

Indeed, they even took the lead at Pride Park when Liam Sercombe struck five minutes after half time, but goals from Max Bird and James Collins gave Derby a vital victory. They were the Rams' only two shots on target, suggesting that they were slightly fortunate to claim all three points.

Eight of Cheltenham's next nine fixtures are against sides currently in the bottom half of the table, so Clarke and his players will be confident of going on another decent run as they attempt to climb outside of the relegation places. Saturday's home fixture against Wycombe feels must-win, especially as it would drag their opponents into the mix.

Wycombe Wanderers' Brandon Hanlan celebrates scoring their first goal on January 11, 2022© Reuters

Having finished in the top half of League One in each of their last three seasons at this level - including when gaining promotion to the Championship for the first time in the club's history in 2020 - it is slightly surprising to see Wycombe fighting against relegation this time around.

However, they were always likely to decline once their legendary manager Gareth Ainsworth decided to depart for Queens Park Rangers last February, with Matt Bloomfield unable to match his former manager's high standards so far. The 39-year-old, who made 488 league appearances for the Chairboys across almost two decades, has lost more matches than he has won or drawn.

That is unsurprising considering that they have only won one of their last 17 league matches, gradually sliding down the table in the process. They will feel that they missed a golden opportunity to claim three points against rock-bottom Fleetwood Town last weekend, as they came from two goals behind to draw 2-2 against their 10-men opponents.

Bloomfield will hope that his side's 4-1 victory against Brighton & Hove Albion Under-21s in the quarter-finals of the EFL Trophy on Wednesday evening will have boosted confidence, but they will require another excellent performance if they are to avoid defeat against Cheltenham on Saturday. In truth, claiming a seventh draw in 10 league matches would be no bad result.

Cheltenham Town League One form:

Wycombe Wanderers League One form:

Wycombe Wanderers form (all competitions):

Team News

Wycombe's Brandon Hanlan celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on December 7, 2021© Reuters

Having put in an excellent performance despite falling to defeat away to Derby last weekend, Clarke may see little reason to make any alterations to his starting XI against inferior opponents on Saturday.

As such, the likes of Liam Kinsella, Aidan Keena and Curtis Thompson may have to be patient from the bench once again, with Clarke usually keen to turn to his substitutes at some point during matches.

Wycombe, meanwhile, will remain without forward Brandon Hanlan. The 26-year-old is sidelined for the remainder of the season due to an ACL injury.

Bloomfield made seven changes for his side's win against Brighton U21s in midweek, suggesting that his priority is understandably on remaining in League One this season. As such, the likes of Sam Vokes, Chem Campbell and Gareth McCleary will almost certainly return to the visitors' starting XI.

Cheltenham Town possible starting lineup:
Southwood; Smith, Davies, Freestone; Long, Pett, Bonds, Ferry; Sercombe; Street, Lloyd

Wycombe Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Stryjek; Grimmer, Low, Tafazolli, Leahy; Wheeler, Potts; McCleary, Taylor, Campbell; Vokes

SM words green background

We say: Cheltenham Town 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers

Wycombe have been one of the draw specialists in League One in recent weeks, drawing six of their last nine games. They would likely take another point on Saturday in order to maintain their eight-point lead over Cheltenham in the table.

Given that Cheltenham have lost their last two matches, they could be forgiven for accepting avoiding defeat, too. However, time is running out for them to start putting wins on the board in order to survive this season, but we can see these sides sharing the spoils.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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