Student Yates to take on master Cotterill in JPT battle of Robins
League One table-toppers Bristol City travel the short distance to Gloucestershire rivals and League Two side Cheltenham Town, both nicknamed the Robins, in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Whaddon Road.
The duo have not been in the same division since the 2006/07 season, when they met three times in the third tier and League Cup.
Cheltenham won two of those matches, but are unfancied with Coral at 10/3 to beat them again, despite boasting the historical advantage over them. This may be due to the fact that they have not gained a victory in their last six games this season, and currently lie in 10th place in League Two.
City, on the other hand, are undefeated all term in League One, and find themselves top by four points after 11 matches. They are odds-on favourites at 5/6 for victory, but Coral offer a more enticing price of 3/1 for them to win in 90 minutes and both teams score. The latter bet is a fantastic opportunity for punters, given that these sides have netted in six out of their seven meetings.
This match also represents another special occasion, as the two teams’ managers know each other extremely well. Steve Cotterill is a former Cheltenham boss, way back from 1997-2002, and Mark Yates was his captain that got them promoted in his final season.
The latter spoke highly of his former coach ahead of this game, saying: “I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for Steve. He plucked me out of nowhere [from Kidderminster Harriers in 1999] and gave me a chance to get back in the Football League.
“He then gave me the chance to start my coaching career at Burnley. I really enjoyed the 18 months I had up there, it was a tremendous learning curve for me,” he continued.
“There’s lots of things you take from different managers but Steve was probably the most influential person in my career.
“You take bits and pieces – his desire to win, how meticulous he was. But I also have to be my own man and that’s what I am.”
Another player making a return to his old stomping ground is midfielder Marlon Pack. While he has yet to find the net for Bristol since joining in 2013, he managed 17 goals over his three seasons at Cheltenham. He is a 7/1 chance to score anytime.
In terms of injuries, Aaron Wilbraham and Derrick Williams are doubts for Cotterill’s men, while for the hosts Paul Black and Asa Hall are out. Troy Brown and Jason Taylor, meanwhile, are both available after suspension.