PREVIEW: Crewe head to Cheltenham with Round Three in their sights

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Crewe Alexandra will be on the road for the fourth successive game tomorrow (Saturday 28th November) as they travel to Gloucestershire to take on Cheltenham Town.

After back-to-back defeats in League One, the railwaymen turn their attentions to the FA Cup with just the Robins standing between them and a place in the third round.

Crewe reached that stage in last year’s competition where they were undone by Championship side Barnsley while Cheltenham reached round two before being beaten by Port Vale.

Michael Duff’s Robins are flying high in League Two as they sit second in the table behind leaders Newport County.

Crewe meanwhile have endured an up and down start to life back in League One as they lie 14th following their midweek defeat to Accrington Stanley.

One(s) to Watch:

Crewe: Harry Pickering and Charlie Kirk

Pickering and Kirk may sound like a 1980s crime fighting duo but they are in fact one of the EFL’s most dangerous partnerships.

Having played together for much of their childhood in the Crewe academy, the pair have an almost telepathic understanding on the left flank and they’ve caused many teams serious headaches over the past couple of years.

With Kirk hanging wide, Pickering is always ready for an underlapping run in behind the defence but you will also see Kirk drift inside from time to time to allow Pickering space for the overlap.

The best of Crewe’s play will come from this duo with central midfielder Oliver Finney likely to create even more havoc for Cheltenham’s defence as the trio switch positions with effortless fluidity.

Cheltenham: Will Boyle

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Will Boyle will be a menace for Crewe in both boxes with all six foot three of the Scot being more than useful for set pieces.

The 25-year-old has already scored twice this season for the Robins and with Omar Beckles potentially missing for Crewe, Boyle will fancy his chances at scoring another.

Last Time Out:

The two sides last met at Gresty Road back in January where Crewe stumbled to a narrow 1-0 victory, courtesy of a long-range strike from captain Perry Ng. It was a key result at the time as the Railwaymen went on to clinch promotion at Cheltenham’s expense.

In the reverse fixture last season, Crewe went down to ten men early on but held on to earn a crucial point in a 1-1 draw. Crewe haven’t won at Whaddon Road in their previous five visits, with the last victorious journey being back in October 2011 which also saw the Railwaymen beat the Robins at Wembley in that year’s play-off final.

Team News:

David Artell is hopeful that he will have top scorer Mikael Mandron and Beckles back fit having missed both of the last two matches but Donervon Daniels will be out of action for some time following surgery.

Cheltenham boss Duff has no new injury concerns to worry about and has a fully fit squad to select from.

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