Oxford United secured their eighth home league victory of the campaign when they comfortably beat AFC Wimbledon 3-0 on Wednesday night.
Mark Sykes and Matthew Taylor gave the hosts a two-goal lead at half time, before Sam Long’s strike on the hour mark sealed all three points for Karl Robinson’s men.
That result has seen the U’s climb up to fifth in the League One standings, seven points behind league leaders Sunderland with a game in hand.
Oxford have a poor head-to-head record against Saturday’s opponents Cheltenham as they have failed to win any of their last eight meetings, including a 1-0 defeat away from home earlier this season.
However, victory for Robinson’s side on New Year’s Day would help consolidate their place in the playoffs, as they aim to finish in the top six for the third successive season.
Unlike Oxford, Cheltenham were unable to fulfil their fixture against MK Dons on December 29 due to an outbreak of coronavirus as well as a number of injuries to first-team players.
Head coach Michael Duff, who missed the 2-0 defeat to Plymouth Argyle on Boxing Day after testing positive for COVID-19, is hoping to return to the dugout this weekend and will be keen to see his side end their poor run of form.
The Robins have failed to win any of their last six matches across all competitions and have struggled defensively in the process, conceding a total of 18 goals which is more than any other side in the division during this period.
The fact that Cheltenham have also conceded at least twice in each game during this difficult spell does not bode well for them heading into this weekend’s fixture with Oxford, who have scored at least twice in each of their last four league matches.
Duff’s side are currently sitting 14th in the League One table, eight points above the relegation zone, but if their disappointing form continues then they may need to start looking over their shoulders at the prospect of a fight for survival