FanZoner Luke Robinson is hoping Cheltenham can beat Crewe in a massive six pointer this weekend.
Cheltenham deserve play-offs at least
With only three games remaining of a long, tough season, Cheltenham fans are struggling to choose between wondering what might have been, and anticipating what could yet come to pass.
When January drew to its cold close, Cheltenham sat top of League 2's pile after a sturdy 3-1 win over Macclesfield. The superlatives were endless, and all the more sweet for a club condemned to struggle by pre-season experts.
It was a pinch yourself moment for a Robins' fan base who had sat through 4 years of footballing dross, incorporating near financial extinction and endangered league status, to get there.
Someone must have muttered 'it's too good to be true' one time too many, however, as the momentum gods sat up, rubbed their eyes and wondered why a small club from Gloucestershire were perched so smugly at League 2's summit.
The wobble was always around the corner, but after various false dawns, the pure ferocity with which it arrived shook Whaddon Road to its humble foundations. March was horrific. Seven games yielded just two points, disastrous thumpings by Gillingham and Southend, and an alarming descent down the table so steep that a play-off place was suddenly and severely under threat.
April was a welcome sight, and Cheltenham seem to have turned a corner, emerging dazed but gritty from that bruising run which saw any hopes of automatic promotion extinguished. Six points from nine has seen one Ruby foot placed tentatively in the play-offs, but the four point cushion that currently exists over Crewe will be rigorously tested this weekend, as the two sides face each other in a classic six pointer. A win seals a play-off place. A defeat sets up a season climax drenched with anxiety.
Failure to finish in the top seven would be a travesty, regardless of pre-season predictions and club size. Yes, Cheltenham have punched above their weight this season. But punch they have, and hard. This group of players, patched together by Mark Yates on a shoestring budget, have gelled into one of, if not the best, sides to represent the Robins in their history.
Forget the prestige, history or bank balances of Oxford, Shrewsbury, Crawley and Southend. The only medium left at this stage is pure bottle, and I for one am desperate for Cheltenham to prove my belief that when it boils down to guts, passion and fight, we can't, we WON'T, be beaten