City continue their pre-season with a trip to League Two Cheltenham Town on Tuesday evening. Sam Roberts has this report on our Gloucestershire opponents.
Last season's League Two Play-Off runners up Cheltenham Town have been homed at Whaddon Road since 1932. The club are based in the town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. The last time Cardiff City and Cheltenham Town met in a competitive game was during the 2002/03 season in Cheltenham's first ever season in League One.
Former Portsmouth, Burnley and Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cotterill made his name as the Robins' manager from 1997-2002 and is considered without a doubt Cheltenham Town's most successful boss to date. Cotterill was only in charge of the club for four months before guiding them back to the Nationwide Conference after a five year absence.
In their first season back in the Conference, the Robins surprised many by finishing second, and during the 1998/99 season did one better finishing the season as champions, entering the Football League for the first time the following season. Before leaving for Stoke City in 2002, Cotterill also lead Cheltenham to the Second Division via the Play-Offs.
Although it is ten years since Cotterill left the Robins, he is still fondly remembered. His impact lives on as his captain from the 2002 play-off winning side Mark Yates is now the current manager of Cheltenham Town. As a player, Yates was signed for £25,000 from local rivals Kidderminster Harriers and achieved two promotions with the club before returning to Harriers as a player before taking over the managerial reigns in 2006.
Yates was appointed the new manager at Whaddon Road on December 22 2009 after the club had suffered a very poor start to the League 2 season. Last season, Yates guided the Robins to sixth place and a Play-Off position. After defeating Torquay 4-1 on aggregate in the semi finals, the Robins faced Crewe Alexandra at Wembley; however a stunning volley from Manchester United bound midfielder Nick Powell set Alex on their way to a 2-0 win and a place in League 1. With the majority of last season's squad remaining, Yates will be looking for a similar promotion charge in the coming campaign.
Last season's top scorer for the Robins was former Swansea City striker Darryl Duffy. Duffy signed for Cheltenham after being released by Bristol Rovers in 2011 and hit fifteen league goals whilst playing alongside Cardiff born Kaid Mohamed. Mohamed began his career as a striker in the Welsh Premier League at the age of eighteen for Cwmbran Town, his most successful spell in football so far was with Bath City with twenty-six goals in only two seasons for City. After a brief spell with AFC Wimbledon, Kaid agreed to sign a two year deal with Cheltenham and the speedy forward did not disappoint with eleven league goals.
Alan Bennett is the current captain of Cheltenham Town. The former Reading and Brentford man was appointed captain before the start of the 2011/12 season and formed a formidable partnership with at centre half with the experienced Steve Elliott. The club have made two new signings for the coming season; Billy Jones is a talented left back signed recently from Exeter City, while midfielder Sam Deering signed from Barnet after making fifty-three appearances for the Bees in the 2011/12 season. The club have also publically revealed recently that they are trailing former Bristol City player Tristan Plummer, the striker having recently returned to the country after a season of playing in the Portuguese second division for Portimonense.
The last time Cheltenham Town and Cardiff City met in a competitive game was during the 2002/03 season. At Whaddon Road, Andy Campbell gave the Bluebirds an early lead only for Neil Howarth to earn a draw for the Robins.
The reverse fixture at Ninian Park in January 2003 finished in a 2-1 victory for the Bluebirds. Cheltenham Town legend John Finnigan scored the equaliser after Peter Thorne had given Cardiff an early lead. The winner was scored by current Cardiff City forward Robert Earnshaw on thirty-six minutes.
These were three crucial points for very different reasons come the end of the season. As Cardiff sealed a play-off place by a single point (going on to defeat Bristol City in the semi finals and Queen's Park Rangers in the final and ultimately winning promotion), the Robins' time in the third tier came to the end after just one season with them missing out on staying up by just two points.
CLICK HERE - to listen to live and uninterrupted commentary of City v Cheltenham Town with Richard Shepherd and Mark Denham from 7.15pm Tuesday evening on Cardiff City Player