Ex-Claret Yates welcomes Burnley

Last updated : 05 August 2012 By Tony Scholes
Michael & Shane Duff with referee Kevin Friend ahead of the friendly in 2005

Our opponents today were, for most of their life, a non-league club. That was until 1999 when they were promoted to the Football League having won what was then called the GM Vauxhall Conference.

Despite our much different histories there have been a number of links in more recent years which probably started back in the late 1980s and into the 1990s when both clubs were sponsored by Endsleigh.

The insurance company's head office is in Cheltenham and links were forged with Burnley, more than once, training there and playing games against the then non-league side.

Since getting into the Football League they have twice been promoted from the bottom division. The first of those occasions was in 2002 when they were under the management of Steve Cotterill. It was Cotterill who had brought them into the league but he left after the 2002 promotion and subsequently managed Burnley.

They went straight down but again celebrated promotion in 2006. This time former Burnley assistant manager John Ward was the man at the helm. The now Colchester manager was in charge of Cheltenham for almost four years between 2003 and 2007.

Both of those promotions were via the play offs and the second proved more successful with a three year stay before relegation in 2009. Things could have been worse too with a relegation fight to stay in the league a year later but another Burnley connection has steered them very much into calmer water.

Mark Yates was Frank Casper's last Burnley signing in 1991. He went on to play over 200 games for Cheltenham. He returned to Burnley as coach under Cotterill in 2004 but left to manage Kidderminster and has now been Cheltenham boss since December 2009.

Yates' assistant is Neil Howarth, another to play for both clubs, although his Burnley first team career was a short one, just one substitute appearance in the last game of the 1989/90 season at Colchester.

Duff, ready for today's game

Since Cheltenham became a league club we've met twice. The first of those games was a very forgettable 2-1 FA Cup defeat in 2002, the other was an almost equally forgettable friendly in 2005 that ended 0-0.

That friendly came about as part of the Michael Duff transfer a year earlier. On that occasion Duff was given the Burnley captaincy on the day when his younger brother Shane, who moved to Bradford City in 2010 but soon after was forced to retire with an injury, captained Cheltenham.

Today Duff will return to once again line up against his former club. Duff, along with Howarth and Yates, are three of seven players who have played league football for both clubs. The others are Craig Armstrong, Drissa Diallo, Steve Guinan and Keith Lowe.

Lowe, who was on loan at Burnley from Wolves in 2005, has just signed a new deal with the Robins and is expected to line up against the Clarets today, as is a player who has already featured against us this pre-season.

Shaun Harrad played against us for Bury just over a week ago but yesterday he completed a season long loan move to Cheltenham and could make his debut today.

They've had a good pre-season, and have lost just once. That came in the last game against Cardiff when they suffered a 4-0 reverse. Apart from Harrad, they have also signed Torquay's Chris Zebroski and those two will be added to the squad who featured against Cardiff.

They lined up: Scott Brown (Connor Roberts), Keith Lowe, Harry Hooman, Alan Bennett (Sido Jombati), Danny Andrew, Jermaine McGlashan, Marlon Pack (Jordan Hibbert), Russell Penn (Sam Deering), Plummer (Joe Hanks), Bagasan Graham (Jeff Goulding), Darryl Duffy (Kaid Mohamed). Subs not used: Billy Jones, Steve Elliott.

There is no news from the Burnley camp as to how Eddie Howe will view this but I'm sure he'll continue his policy of giving players extended game time, maybe some even getting 90 minutes.

Martin Paterson is fit again and could feature, and that would mean the only player out of contention being Marvin Bartley.

Howe will select this afternoon from: Lee Grant, Brian Jensen, Jon Stewart, Kieran Trippier, Luke O'Neill, David Edgar, Michael Duff, Kevin Long, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, Danny Lafferty, Joseph Mills, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Steven Hewitt, Alex MacDonald, Ross Wallace, Junior Stanislas, George Porter, Keith Treacy, Danny Ings, Charlie Austin, Martin Paterson, Sam Vokes.