D3D4 Cheltenham Town Correspondent Luke Saunders examines his sides away day troubles…
With just one victory from their opening five games, Cheltenham Town sit bottom of League Two with just three points and they now face the daunting task of back to back away trips at Yeovil Town and Newport County.
Away form is a real problem for Gary Johnson’s side, who have struggled to get positive results at other grounds since their promotion back to the Football League two years ago.
Despite entertaining triumphs in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup over the last 12 months, picking up points in the league has proved to be a banana skin for a team who tend to struggle outside of Gloucestershire.
They have won just four out of their last 24 league matches on the road, with the last victory coming 10 matches ago at Leyton Orient in February.
That barren run stretches right back to the start of last season and it’s a statistic that simply has to improve if Cheltenham are to avoid another battle for survival come May.
Cheltenham would have been relegated back to the National League had it not been for the three key home victories against Morecambe, Grimsby Town and Hartlepool United in April.
Home form made all the difference on what was described by Johnson as their “cabbage patch” due to the worn state of the Whaddon Road turf last season.
But with a pristine playing surface for the 2017/18 campaign, it will take more than just relying on home comforts this time around.
It took until late October for the Robins to register their first away victory at Grimsby in 2016/17 but the need for maximum points at an earlier stage is required as six precious points are up for grabs in the next five days.
First up is this Saturday’s relatively short trip to Somerset where Yeovil Town will provide stern opposition after winning both of their home fixtures so far this term.
Huish Park has not been a happy hunting ground for Cheltenham in recent years, where they last emerged with all three points courtesy of a 1-0 win in 2006.
Last September the Glovers ran out 4-2 winners there and despite defensive fragilities, Darren Way’s outfit are very sharp going forward. Keeping a clean sheet may therefore be very difficult for a CTFC side who have shipped a total of eight goals in their three competitive away games this season.
High flying Newport is another tough away trip for the players on Tuesday evening, but Cheltenham have never lost an EFL meeting there and Robins’ fans can look forward to two of their shortest journeys in the coming week.
Despite the disappointing start, the closeness of Huish Park and Rodney Parade in comparison to most other stadiums in the division is likely to attract a larger than usual away support at both fixtures.
The supporters will travel and do their part, but the players must also now start to perform and put a winning run together.
Despite losing two home games out of three, it is inevitable that Cheltenham will start winning at home so improving away form has to be a priority if the Robins are to start pushing up the League Two table.