Written by Owen Knight
After a successful bounce back at the first attempt, all involved at Cheltenham Town Football Club are blowing a huge sigh of relief after re-gaining football league status. A title which is all too important to a team, especially on the financial side of keeping the club stable and in professional state.
Many fans are just glad to be back to where we believe we should and deserve to be, and would settle for a mid-table finish, although others have different ideas. Manager Gary Johnson has been paraded somewhat as a messiah at Cheltenham, and he’s not stopping at League 2 with strong intention and high ambition to go on another promotion charge. With all but one player not renewing their contract last season, only one addition has been made, with high expectation of last seasons three loanees returning to carry on from where they left off. Here I look at three players that will push the Robins forward with their promotion ambition.
Coming into the squad only in January, Holman was an invaluable addition to the squad. After getting 14 goals on loan at Woking, Johnson managed to swipe him up on a free from Colchester, fending off interest from football league clubs. He proved his worth by finishing joint top goalscorer with Padraig Amond after netting 16 in just 18 appearances in a red and white shirt. He could easily be the biggest signing of the forthcoming season after tying him down to a 1-year deal amid interest from other League 2 clubs. Not only has he been valuable in the goals department, he’s secured a formidable partnership with another Dan in Danny Wright, helping him to his best goal scoring season also. The past goal scoring records speak for themselves and so long as he can kick on from where he left off last season, he will be feared amongst many League 2 defenders.
There aren’t many made like Harry Pell, the chirpy and charismatic midfield stalwart is a big character on and off the pitch. At 6 foot 4 he sticks out like a sore thumb in the centre of midfield, threatening with his ability to drive forward at defences with the ball at his feet, produce powerful free-kicks and ability to play across the midfield, he is certain to be the key player in the team. Not only the potential to be the key player, there is the need to be the main man in midfield, as for the opening eight games Town are without vice-captain, and midfield pivot, Kyle Storer, due to lengthy banning from the FA due to a biting incident. Still at only 24 years of age, this is a great chance for Pell to establish himself as a solid football league central midfielder. So far with a stop-start career this is the perfect opportunity to keep on progressing with a team that is together and still developing, heading in the right direction.
In a bid to get noticed by Gary Johsnon last season, an out of contract Daniel Parslow posted a letter to the Cheltenham manager, which ended up in the bin. However being short of a defender for a local pre-season game Johnson invited the experienced centre-back for a trial. Eight months down the line and Parslow is one of two players to take part in every single game of the domestic season as well as earning the “Players’ player of the Season” accolade. In a team full of a variety of different players consistently showing off their abilities, Parslow became a bit of an unsung hero until the very end of the season. With the seasoned Aaron Downes sidelined with an ACL in early January, the Welshman had to remain a brick wall while he played with various defensive options. With Downes still expected to be out till October time, and vice-captain Storer banned for the opening eight games, it is likely he will be given the captains armband until either are back. His array of experience should leave fans with no doubt that he will be able continue with his defensive capabilities and drive the team on with his temporary leadership.
Cheltenham fans, do you agree that these 3 players will be pivotal? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by quisnovus