Michael Duff hails Cheltenham new boys after comeback win over Walsall

Posted Wednesday, February 17, 2021 by PA

Michael Duff hails Cheltenham new boys after comeback win over Walsall

Cheltenham boss Michael Duff praised his new boys for turning the tables in their 2-1 comeback win at Walsall.

Caolan Lavery stunned the visitors with his fine third-minute goal.

But Sam Smith – on loan from Reading – and Leicester loanee Callum Wright scored within eight first-half minutes to keep up the promotion pace.

“I’m really happy,” said Duff, whose side sit third in the League Two table. “They (Walsall) have lost as many games as we have this season and proved they are really tough to beat so to go 1-0 down in the first five minutes, get it back and see the game through was really pleasing.

“The two finishes were two great finishes and it was pleasing we didn’t panic.

“Wright will learn a lot from that. I thought he learnt a lot from watching the Harrogate game.

“We saw what he could do with the ball. He is here to learn the tactical side of things but he is here to learn and competed well.

“He didn’t look like a crisp packet where it’s floating around and getting knocked over.

“He will remember today forever. The fact he scored on his league debut, he will be on cloud nine now.

“Hopefully he can come in and kick on now.

“Sam did what we wanted him to do, threaten behind, hold it up. He is a good finisher and a threat in the air.”

Brian Dutton was left frustrated with the manner in which his side conceded both goals as he tasted defeat in his first game in charge.

It came just a day after Darrell Clarke’s shock departure to Port Vale.

And Dutton said: “Monday was a whirlwind, the chairman announced that the manager would be leaving the football club and I was asked if I would take the reins to the end of the season, which I’m delighted to do.

“The players responded first-class. I’m very, very fortunate that the players I’ve been left to look after between now and the end of the season are second to none in terms of attitude and application.

“It’s difficult to say what to expect from me, it’s my first opportunity as a league manager, I want to try and play football when I can, but I don’t want to be a soft touch and give away goals like we have done tonight.

“I’m disappointed with the goals we conceded, I’m disappointed were weren’t more aggressive out of possession in the first half, but I was delighted with the response second half.

“Cheltenham are a top team, a top three team in this league and they’ve got all aspects of the game covered.

“They’re technical when they need to be technical but they’re also physical when they need to be physical and you can see how many goals they’ve scored this season with that long throw.”


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