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Pep's Notes for Cheltenham

Manager Pep Clotet writes in the Cheltenham Town programme

8 August 2017

Good evening everyone and welcome to the first home game of the season as we take on Cheltenham Town in the Carabao Cup.

I am very aware of our history in this competition: winners in 1986, semi-finalists a couple of years later and consistently upsetting sides from higher leagues. Tonight the boot is on the other foot and Cheltenham come here as underdogs, which makes them very dangerous. Gary Johnson is a very experienced manager who will have them fired up so we will have to be at our best if we want to go through.

We want to keep the momentum going after Saturday's win. With another important game coming up at the weekend we will have to take a close look at how the players are doing, but our priority is to field a side which we believe will be strong enough for us to win the game and every member of the squad will be desperate for the opportunity to impress. That is a healthy situation in terms of competition for places.

I was really satisfied with how we performed at Boundary Park. As manager, you take your place in the dugout at 3pm and just hope that everything you have worked on, all the hours on the training pitch, all those pre-season games, pay off. The players deserve great credit because they set a fantastic tone for the rest of the season but nothing is ever decided on the opening day of course and we're just looking to keep working and improving together.

The opening was a little cagey, which you maybe expect on the first Saturday, but then I felt we grew stronger and started to dominate. Wes Thomas took his goal very well to give us a half-time lead and then Josh Ruffels ended a very good team move with another calm finish to make it 2-0. We created chances and looked dangerous, we moved the ball well, stuck to the game plan and defensively were very solid, which saw us pick up a clean sheet. The new boys put in good performances on their debuts: Mike Williamson, James Henry and Jack Payne, plus Jon Obika later on. To be honest, we have to be happy with the whole squad as the win was the perfect example of a real team effort.

Since I last wrote any notes we have added Ricardinho to our squad, a player I know very well having worked with him before. He is a great professional who knows his job and will prove his value as the season gathers pace. We are still hoping to add other pieces to the jigsaw but I am very happy with our progress and the way the squad is coming together so far.

It is a big week for us with another exciting game against Portsmouth on Saturday. We appreciate your support tonight and would love you to return this weekend with friends, family and colleagues to make a great game into an even bigger occasion. I thought the fans were outstanding at Oldham and look forward to seeing and hearing you get behind the team here at our stadium, which we'll need to make a tough place for visiting teams to come to this season.

Enjoy the game,



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