Michael Duff warns Cheltenham there won’t be a third chance to lift the title

Posted Sunday, May 02, 2021 by PA

Michael Duff warns Cheltenham there won’t be a third chance to lift the title

Cheltenham manager Michael Duff turned his attention to the final week of the season after his side missed their first chance to wrap up the League Two title.

A 1-0 defeat at play-off chasing Newport left the Robins needing to beat Harrogate next Saturday to make sure of a first Football League title in the club’s 134-year history.

County skipper Joss Labadie’s fourth-minute goal was enough to steer the home side to victory and they now only need a point at relegated Southend on Saturday to secure a play-off spot.

But Duff’s focus is on making sure his side finish ahead of Cambridge, who are two points behind – with a better goal difference – after their 5-4 defeat to Harrogate on Friday night.

The Town boss said: “We had two chances to win the league and we’ve failed in one of them.

“There will be no excuses next week. We’ve got a full week to prepare and then it is up to us to win if Cambridge don’t lose.

“Too many people took the easy option today. It was subliminal. We just have to fire ourselves up for one more game.

“It has been tough, but there isn’t a club in the league who wouldn’t take the position we are in. Win the last game at home and we win the title.

“We’ve got a good chance of winning the league which has never been done at this club before. There will be no excuses next week and if we don’t do it. It will be because we don’t deserve it.”

A poor first-half performance put Cheltenham on the back foot and until the final 20 minutes they didn ot raise much of a threat.

“Everything was wrong with our first-half performance. We had a go in the last 20 minutes, but you can’t have a first half like that and hope to win,” added Duff.

“We just need one more win to clinch it, but every win is hard to come by in this league. I think we can do it, and I hope we can do it, but whatever happens I am immensely proud of my players.”

Exeter’s winner six minutes into stoppage time at Bolton thwarted County’s hopes of guaranteeing a top-seven finish with a game to go.

Now all the emphasis will be on avenging their home defeat to relegated Southend when they head to the east coast on Saturday.

County boss Michael Flynn: “I thought it was an excellent performance and we got a great start with a great strike from Joss Labadie. We’ve now got a huge game next weekend.

“The fact Southend have been relegated might mean the shackles are off and they play with freedom. We have got to go and take care of business because we need at least a point.

“We have been fantastic of late – I can’t fault their efforts and we are almost in the play-offs.

“I’m also very proud that we’ve now secured the most points this club has had since getting back into the league and that is a big achievement for the players.”


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