THE BIG MATCH

Gillingham are still setting the pace in npower League 2 but they face one of their toughest fixtures yet on Tuesday as they meet third-placed Cheltenham Town.

Martin Allen's men are five points clear at the summit with 35 points from their 15 games, while Mark Yates' Cheltenham have 28 points thus far.

Allen is certainly aware of the challenge that his side faces, telling Kent Messenger: "The team we are playing against [Cheltenham] are a good team and they were very unlucky not to get promoted last year in the Play-Offs.

"Without a shadow of a doubt they will be the best team we have played so far, apart from Charlton in pre-season."

A win for the Robins would move them within four points of the leaders, which will certainly act as an added incentive in the fixture.

They come into the game on form, too, with just one loss in their last nine matches, and manager Mark Yates believes his side are prepared, commenting on www.ctfc.com: "We are ready and we're in good shape going into a tough game.

"It's another game and a great one to be involved with against a team at the top of the table. I'm sure they have a good budget and I know they have some good players to which the manager has added real quality this season.

"We want to catch them and be up there with them. They have had a fantastic start to the season and all credit to them for that. We'll be wary of them but we've got to go and play our game."

The Gills have the upper hand in the npower League 2 table and they also have the advantage in terms of historic form.

The sides have clashed 10 times since their first meeting in 1999. Cheltenham have tasted victory just once, back in 2007, when they met in npower League 1, while the Kent outfit have won on five occasions.

In the team news, Gillingham will be without midfielder Charlie Allen, defender Joe Martin, as well as Bradley Dack. On-loan defender Tom Flanagan could return, though, after missing the Gills' comfortable 4-0 FA Cup win over npower League 1 Scunthorpe United.

Cheltenham, meanwhile, will be without midfield loanee Lawson D'Ath, who has returned to parent club Reading for treatment on a knee injury.

KEEP AN EYE ON

Two of npower League 2's strugglers go head-to-head at the EBB Stadium as Aldershot Town host Wycombe Wanderers.

The two sides are locked on 12 points and sit side-by-side at the foot of the division - Aldershot sitting 23rd, inside the relegation zone, with Wycombe sitting 22nd - although the Chairboys have played a game less.

A win for the Shots would lift them above Wycombe and out of the relegation zone, and they have momentum coming into the fixture.

Dean Holdsworth's side have picked up four points from their last two outings with a 2-1 victory over Southend United and a goalless draw at Dagenham and Redbridge.

Gareth Ainsworth remains in caretaker charge of the Chairboys and they come into the fixture with two wins, two losses and two draws from their last six matches.

The acting boss is keen to see his side go into this weekend's fixture with the right attitude to further improve their current form, telling Chairboys Player: "I demand passion, I demand pride, and I demand energy, high energy, and that's all I will ever give. I wish I could be out there with them sometimes and maybe I will have to be soon.

"They know what they've got to give now; they know they owe a performance.

"We'll be giving everything Tuesday so we can pick up some points at Aldershot."

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

There's a Lancashire derby at the Globe Arena on Tuesday as Morecambe host Accrington Stanley.

Morecambe currently sit 17th, while Stanley lie 12th. Three points for Jim Bentley's side would lift them above their rivals though, proving just how tight the npower League 2 table is.

History is certainly on the side of the visitors with Morecambe winning the derby just once since 2005, but that came in the most recent meeting at the beginning of September, when the Shrimps won 2-0 at the Crown Ground.

Rock-bottom Barnet could move out of the relegation zone for the first time this season as they take on Torquay United.

The Bees need to win and need the match between Aldershot and Wycombe to not end level for them to move out of the bottom two.

At the other end of the division, second-placed Port Vale will want to get back to winning ways, having lost to Northampton Town last time out, and they face Rochdale at Vale Park. The Dale have won just once in four but they have picked up more points on the road than they have at home, so will travel with confidence.

Elsewhere, Exeter City will attempt to put a stop to their run of five games without a win as they host lowly AFC Wimbledon. The Wombles sit 21st and have won two, lost two and drawn one from their last five fixtures.

Bristol Rovers are level on points with AFC Wimbledon in the table, with 14, and they meet mid-table Southend United.

Fleetwood Town, Bradford City, Rotherham United and the previously mentioned Torquay currently sit in the Play-Off places but that could all change after the midweek fixtures.

Fleetwood host Rotherham, while Bradford go head-to-head with 16th-placed Chesterfield.

York City could move into the Play-Off contingent if they beat Northampton Town and results go their way, as could Burton Albion. Although the Brewers will have to wait until Wednesday to potentially make their move into the top seven, which is when they face Plymouth Argyle, who come into the fixture off the back of an FA Cup loss to Blue Square Bet South side Dorchester Town.

The remaining fixture in npower League 2 sees Oxford United host John Still's Dagenham and Redbridge.

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