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Pre Cheltenham | Steve Cotterill

28 December 2022


Pre Cheltenham | Steve Cotterill

28 December 2022

Manager Steve Cotterill spoke to the media ahead of our game against Cheltenham tomorrow.

Town welcome Wade Elliott's side to Montgomery Waters Meadow looking to get back to winning ways following a Boxing Day defeat at Cambridge.

The loss at Abbey Stadium was a tough one for Steve and the players to take - with the team doing more than enough to claim all three points.

But on what proved to be a frustrating afternoon from the off, Tom Flanagan was initially named in the starting line-up but had to come out just before kick-off due to feeling unwell.

That meant Taylor Moore moved from wing-back to centre-half - with Rekeil Pyke taking over his duties on the right-hand side.

Speaking ahead of Cheltenham's visit, Steve discussed the defeat to Cambridge, the disruption before that game and the mistakes we made that ultimately cost us three points.

And the boss also touched on his time managing Cheltenham - his hometown club - with Steve enjoying a hugely successful spell there between 1997 and 2002.


"Everyone is okay. We’re disappointed (with the Cambridge result). We were dominant in the second half. 

"But there was that break, I don't know, did we lose a bit of rhythm – I don’t know. But the game didn't get into any rhythm in the first half which didn’t help us. 

"When we put more urgency into the game in the second half, I thought we were better. 

"We’ve looked at their goals and the mistakes we’ve made. For their first goal – we can do better with that. 

“If Carl Winchester stays inside and doesn’t become one-on-one then Rekeil Pyke has got him (goalscorer Shilow Tracey).

"Then for their second everyone will remember the Chey Dunkley touch and Sam Smith getting in one-on-one. But it wasn’t just that. 

"We’ve had Jordan Shipley who could have done something better with the ball. We’ve had Christian Saydee who could have been over that side of the pitch. We’ve had Taylor Moore taking a touch. We then had Chey who could have dropped deeper so the pass wasn’t so long.

"We said before the game, they were the fourth best in the league for interceptions so we can't invite those passes. 

“Taylor could have also gone back to Marko. So it really isn’t just on the moment where Chey Dunkley has had a touch and it’s gone straight off Smith whose gone through one-on-one. 

“You can get away with one or two mistakes but you can’t get away with three or four in the same passage of play. 

“If you do that then nine times out of 10 it ends up in the back of your net. 

“We were really disappointed with both the goals but I still think we did enough to win that game, we should have won that game. We know that. 

“There is nothing we can do about it now. But I’ve said to the boys that’s three points you can’t get back. 

“Now we have to look forward to our next game. The games come thick and fast over the Christmas period but we know that and we’ve been preparing for that.” 


"It’s very difficult when you are working off the back of 12 or 13 players to manage them. 

"What you can do is manage them in training – that's what you do have to do. In and around training that is something you do need to do."


"I think it’s fair to say it’s a fixture I look out for. There are a few I look out for but obviously Cheltenham – it's my home town and I’ve still got family and friends there. 

"I think Wadey (Wade Elliott) has done a great job there this year. I think they had a bit of a rocky result result (against Alvechurch) in the FA Cup. 

"But Cheltenham are not a knee-jerk club. I think they’ve done great. I think Wade has done a very, very, good job there – and with lots of changes. 

"Wadey has had to put together a new team there and then get them playing in a certain way. 

"I think he has done a really, really, good job there and I’m pleased for him. I’m proud of him."


"Putting Tayls back in there didn’t change the game plan – because you haven’t got time to change it anyway. 

"It wouldn’t have changed our game plan. But what it might have done, it might have changed Taylor's mind in terms of Flanno has played with Chey more then Tayls has. 

"So would Flanno have given Chey the ball in that moment? I don’t know, I think he may have played an earlier ball forward into Saydee. 

"Taylor is a good footballer. And I think at that moment in time he wanted us to keep possession. Unfortunately, for me, I think he picked the wrong pass. 

"But it wasn’t just Taylor because Chey Dunkley picked the wrong space – he should have been narrower to receive the ball. That wouldn’t have allowed the striker to jump him. 

"There are lots of things that have gone on there. But I thought Tayls was the best out of the three. I thought he was the best out of the back three. 

"It was just disappointing that happened at that moment. I thought he adapted well and I think when he’s played at right wing-back he’s played well. 

"And I think Rekeil Pyke stepping into the starting line-up with 20 minutes to go – I thought he played well. 

"I wasn’t thinking about taking him off, but his calves were cramping up because it’s been a long time since he’s played 90 minutes. 

"I thought both Taylor and Rekeil did really well considering everything had to change at 2.40pm. And it was obviously tough on Tom. He has been ill for a few days now."


"We need to wait and see how he is. He’s got to get some food down him. That’s important.  

"He has to get some food down him because he hadn’t eaten for a couple of days and he was weak going out onto the pitch. 

"He didn’t have a gallop in him and that’s unlike Tom. Whilst Tom is slender, he is strong and he is tough. 

"He didn’t look the best but the reason why we wanted to see if he could start was because Rekeil hadn’t played 90 minutes for a while. 

"Even if Tom could had given us half an hour, we were preparing for him to give us half and hour and then Rekeil would have only had to do 60 minutes in the wing-back role. 

"It ended up being one of those days. We’ve had it a couple of times this year because of the injuries. 

"If we’d have had Dan Udoh, George Nurse, Julien Dacosta, Aiden O’Brien and Elliott Bennett, if wouldn’t have mattered so much. We probably wouldn’t have pushed Tom so late in the day – but we just haven’t got those luxuries. 

"When we get moments like we had at Cheltanham away – George Nurse was injured that week, Jordan Shipley had to leave pre-match, Tom Flanagan and 2.40pm can't do it – it rocks us a little bit. 

"We’re alright if we have got a week to prepare if someone is missing but when you have got those moments so quick and close to the game – it's just not ideal and I’m sure it would affect most teams. 

"But I actually think it didn’t affect us that much and I wouldn’t want to use it as an excuse - I still think we did enough to win the game."


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