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Alsop gamble paid off: Allen

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: September 07, 2009

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MARTIN Allen believes Cheltenham Town's 1-1 home draw with Dagenham and Redbridge proves they can live with the toughest competition League Two has to offer.

The Robins recovered from their midweek disappointment against Torquay United with a much-improved display as Allen locked horns with his former mentor and long-serving Daggers boss John Still.

Cheltenham created enough chances to have won the match after fighting back from a goal down through Michael Townsend's headed equaliser in the 81st minute.

It was their first test against a side in the upper reaches of the table and with players such as Shane Duff, Michael Pook and Elvis Hammond still to return from injuries, Allen is confident his team are on the right track.

"We can live with any team in this division, I know we can, and so do the players," Allen said.

"Dagenham are a hard team to play against and I can feel it's coming good and I am very pleased with the players."

Allen was full of praise for Julian Alsop after handing the 36-year-old striker his first Cheltenham start for more than six years.

Alsop arrived in the summer on a month-to-month contract, expecting to be confined to brief substitute appearances after his surprise return from non-League outfit Bishop's Cleeve.

But his cameo contributions earned him a place in the starting line-up and he was a menace for the Dagenham defence for the duration.

"It was a gamble, but Julian deserved to play in this game because he is a threat," Allen said.

"I approached loads of players in the summer to play that role, but I couldn't afford them.

"If you go shopping at Sainsbury's and ask for some fillet steak and you don't have the money, you can't buy it.

"We have ended up with a gristly, old, fatty lump of lard up front, but at the moment he is tasting okay."

Alsop's return was met with a mixed response from Cheltenham supporters, but his increasingly influential performances have made Allen's decision to hand him another chance at full-time football a shrewd one.

"People thought I was mad to take on a player who hadn't played professional football for years," Allen said.

"They should have been here today to see this man's energy, enthusiasm and leadership. He is a shining example."

Cheltenham travel to 19th-placed Bury next week, with joint top scorer Hammond in with a chance of returning from his ankle ligament injury.

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    Tarquin, Voice of CTFC  |  September 08 2009, 8:45AM

    Paul its only an opinion and all their trying to do is sell papers just ignor it.

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    Paul, Cheltenham  |  September 08 2009, 8:17AM

    Perhaps Tarquin you could ask the Echo not to twist what he does say. But hey, that's what all journalists do, why should I expect the Echo to be any different.

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    John, Cheltenham  |  September 08 2009, 8:16AM

    "gristly, old, fatty lump of lard up front" What a ridiculous thing to say!!

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    Tarquin, Voice of CTFC  |  September 07 2009, 10:23PM

    Richard the season has started far better than I could of dreamed of. The football has been far better than last season and how we didn't win on Saturday I don't know. I like to think that it maybe be possible to make the play offs but this will only happen if the players start to believe in themselfs and don't give other teams so much respect. The other thing that will help the players if MA stops making ridiculous coments in the press before games which entails putting more pressure on the players. All in all not a bad start to the season, cheers and look forward to a few more wins and buying you that pint.

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    Richard lll, Cheltenham  |  September 07 2009, 8:03PM

    Cheers Bill, I know Connor is famous for that Millenium goal and the goal against Donny that kept us up, but for the money we paid for him (£25k was it?), he rarely showed the fans he was worth the money.

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    Bill, Glos  |  September 07 2009, 7:06PM

    Richard, I don't agree with you often, but the comment on connor is spot on. One of the best you have made in fact. Although Allen hasn't done much right since taking the reins of Cheltenham, getting rid of Connor without having to pay him off was indeed a stroke of genius!

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    cameron, taunton  |  September 07 2009, 4:53PM

    sorry lads but those ill chosen words will come back to haunt you

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    Richard lll, Cheltenham  |  September 07 2009, 4:46PM

    Tarquin - we're moving along steadily, reckon a comfortable mid-table position is well within us - What do you think of the games so far?

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    Tarquin, Voice of CFTC  |  September 07 2009, 3:46PM

    Cameron you and Connor could go and join MA while he does the gardening, good Post Richard, still looks like I've got to buy you a pint for my early predictions!!

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    Richard lll, Cheltenham  |  September 07 2009, 2:54PM

    Connor's skills? What are they then Cam? Scoring? NO, Heading on target? NO, Running at defenders? NO + Laying off the ball to his strike partner? NO. Lincoln are welcome to Connor.