Salford City will be hoping for a first win in six on the road in Sky Bet League Two when they head to Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
The Ammies have drawn two and lost three since a 0-1 win at Scunthorpe United, and took the lead in two of the three defeats. However it’s the draws that have been holding Salford back, and after controlling most games over the last couple of months Richie Wellens has called on his side to take more risks.
With games starting to run down The Ammies need to chalk up some more wins, and critical games against sides currently above them in the table are a great opportunity to do that.
Midfielder Robbie Gotts, who joined on loan from Leeds United in January, believes the capability is there and a game away at league leaders Cheltenham could provide the spark needed.
“We seen it when we played Cambridge, we played them when they were top of the league and beat them 4-1, but it just sums up the league really, it doesn’t really matter where you are.
“It’s all to play for, I’d say we’re going there with no fear and we want to put the Tuesday game – even though we didn’t lose – right, and like I said try and take them risks and score the goals we need.
“As a group we’re all on the same page really, we know we’re in control of the games when we’re playing them, like the manager said it doesn’t really feel like the other team’s going to score.
“But there was something mentioned about we as a team need to take more risks after the game on Tuesday which I think is bang on really. We just need to be patient with it then when we take those risks hopefully we can get the goals we deserve as well.”
With 27 goals conceded The Ammies have the best defence in League Two, seconded by Stevenage (31) and then Cheltenham (33), while The Robins’ Josh Griffiths has kept 16 league clean sheets, joint with Vaclav Hladky.
Having that defensive solidity is a reassurance for the players further up, and Gotts agrees that Salford need to make the most of it.
“For any player higher up the pitch it’s a big positive that the back four is so solid and they’ve been great, so yeah I feel like we need to take those risks and see if they do pay off. We know we’ve got the backing at the back so it’s all good for the people at the front because if we know the goals aren’t getting conceded it’s always a bonus.”
Ian Henderson is pushing for a start after shaking off a bug, while Mani Dieseruvwe is available again too. Bruno Andrade is nursing a knock, and Darron Gibson continues his recovery.
See Robbie’s full interview on Matchday LIVE from 14:30 GMT on Saturday, available to watch free on our social media channels.
After missing out on promotion last season, losing in the play-off semi-final to Northampton Town, Cheltenham have surged back this year and have automatic promotion in their own hands.
Under the leadership of Michael Duff, The Robins have built a strong core that has been together for a couple of seasons now and have a clear philosophy which has seen them credited as one of the best sides in the division.
This season they enjoyed a run to the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round and took the lead at home to Manchester City, before being over-run in the last few minutes to lose 1-3. However the ultimate goal for The Robins is promotion and a return to the third tier.
Since that FA Cup date Cheltenham have been on a good run of form with eight wins from 12, but they have lost two of the last three.
Nevertheless they will take confidence from their previous results against The Ammies; a 2-0 win at The Peninsula Stadium in 2019-20 and a goalless draw earlier this season where they were the better side and were denied victory by an imperious Hladky performance.
This is the first time that Cheltenham welcome Salford to the Jonny Rocks Stadium, but The Ammies did visit in February 2017 to play Gloucester City in the National League North.
HOW TO WATCH
Saturday’s game is available to watch at live.salfordcityfc.co.uk for £10 in the UK or £7 abroad.