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Salford City football Club

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Graham Alexander, Salford City, Salford City vs Cheltenham Town PreviewSalford City return to The Peninsula Stadium on Saturday when Cheltenham Town are the visitors for the first time (KO 15:00).

The Ammies are still in search of a second league win this season, but have drawn the last five including last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Morecambe and are undefeated since the second week of the season.

Cheltenham have started well and sit in sixth, nine places above Salford but just three points ahead so this is a good opportunity to make up some places.

While steady, it’s by no means been a bad start for Graham Alexander’s side and they can really make it count with a win on Saturday, ahead of further games against another three of the current top seven this month.

However the Gaffer says that the focus in training has been on the minor improvements and the visit of Cheltenham, not the games beyond that.

“We’ve been focusing on a few things that we feel we need to improve on to see out those little spells that we’ve had that have cost us points, cost us dearly really because we’ve had maximum points in our hands two or three times this season and not managed to get over the line.

“It’s a little bit of keeping the good stuff that we’ve got, and there is plenty of that, but it’s making those slight improvements to justify the work that the players put in throughout the game and in training.

“The basis of what we’re doing is good because you don’t go unbeaten for so long, for quite a few games, if you weren’t doing some good things along the way.

“But obviously we want to get maximum points and the players are working exceptionally hard to do that.

“There’s no point in focusing on who we’ve got in three games time because we can’t win that game yet so all our training this week has been on ourselves more than anything else, rather than the opposition. 

“It’s been on what we do well, try and improve the things that have cost us points and put that into practice, but if the players take on to the pitch on Saturday what they’ve been doing in training then I think we’ll have a good performance and a good result.”

Reunited

Michael Duff, Cheltenham Town
Image: Cheltenham Town FC

Standing in the opposite dug out is Michael Duff who Alexander played with at Burnley between 2007-2011 and knows well. The pair won promotion to The Premier League in the 2008-09 season via the play-offs, but the Gaffer says the re-acquaintances will have to wait until full time.

“I’ve known Duffo since the first day I walked into Burnley, we played together for just under four years in my time there and we had a fantastic time.

“I’ve always kept in touch with him, I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago, but it’s the old adage we want to beat each other; he was a competitive player and I don’t expect anything different from him as a manager.

“The niceties will be left for after the game, but it’ll be good to see him, he’s one of football’s good guys and I’ve always enjoyed spending time with him but my main focus on Saturday, my only focus on Saturday, will be my team and winning the game of football.”

Team News

Ibou Touray, Salford CityIbou Touray is available again after international duty with The Gambia, and is closing in on his 100th appearance for The Ammies. If he plays, Danny Whitehead will reach a half century of appearances.

The Gaffer said: “We’ve had a couple of injuries that we’ve been nursing, obviously Nathan Pond missed last week, Ibou Touray’s been away, we’ve got a couple of other little issues that we’ve had this week.

“We’ve had the majority of the group out for the majority of the time but there’s been two or three missing throughout the week so we’re going to have to see how they are on Friday before we decide fully on the team.

“But this is part of the course when you’re in a competitive league and you’re playing in a competitive way, you’re going to pick up knocks, bumps and bruises but I feel we’ve got players that are tough enough and resilient enough to put themselves out there and win the game.”

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