Football: Cotterill charges up Cheltenham's ambition

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The Independent Online
WITH NO Premiership programme this weekend and a reduced Nationwide League fixture list tomorrow, many seeking live rather than television action will be turning to the non-League circuit.

Arguably the pick of tomorrow's card in the Football Conference sees the leaders, Cheltenham Town, go to Somerset to tackle Yeovil Town. After finishing second in the Conference last season and winning the FA Umbro Trophy, the Gloucestershire side are looking to win the title this term.

Cheltenham's away form has been formidable - after losing the first game of the league campaign at Welling they have won all five subsequent away matches. They are also unbeaten at home this season, and have gone 12 Conference fixtures without defeat.

Cheltenham have made great progress under their manager, Steve Cotterill, the former Wimbledon striker, who has been in charge at Whaddon Road since January of last year. His achievements have been noticed at a higher level: the Robins' fans will be glad Swindon Town chose Jimmy Quinn as their new manager last month, for the only other man interviewed for the vacancy was Cotterill.

The 34-year-old, who began his managerial career in the League of Ireland with Sligo Rovers, seems happy to stay in the Conference - for now. "I have got a great job here at Cheltenham," Cotterill said. "I am working for a fantastic board, and the players and fans are equally superb."

If Cheltenham lose at Yeovil, Stevenage Borough will take over at the top of the table if they beat Hereford United at home. All tomorrow's Conference fixtures kick off at 3pm except for two matches at 1pm: Leek against Hednesford and Welling v Barrow.

Six years ago Roy McDonough was celebrating leading Colchester United to a Conference and Trophy double, but his managerial reputation is now tarnished.

Following a short and unhappy spell in charge of Chelmsford City two seasons ago, the rumbustious McDonough returned to management with another Essex side, Heybridge Swifts, this summer. However, the former Southend and Cambridge United centre-forward was sacked last week.

Swifts are one from bottom of the Ryman League Premier Division and McDonough, no stranger to red cards as a player, had twice been dismissed from the bench. Three of his players had also been sent off already this season.