Don't get shirty! Cheltenham boss Yates defends Arsenal connection ahead of Spurs tie
Cheltenham Town have unwittingly walked into the north London rivalry between Tottenham and Arsenal on a day when they are looking to make a name for themselves at White Hart Lane.
The League Two side, who are unbeaten in their last five games since the draw was made to face the Barclays Premier League title contenders, will be playing in a ruby kit to celebrate their 125th anniversary.
It mirrors the strip worn by Arsenal during their centenary celebrations and the Gloucestershire club were also invited to use the Gunners’ training facilities at London Colney prior to the tie.
Favour: Arsene Wenger has let Cheltenham use Arsenal's training facilities
‘It is just a coincidence that the kit is similar,’ said Cheltenham boss Mark Yates, fearing a backlash among a sell-out crowd.
Enjoying the ride: Yates' Cheltenham are flying high in League Two
‘There isn’t any connection between the clubs. And the fact that we are using their facilities is because one of my assistants, Neil Howarth, knows Arsenal’s chief scout Steve Rowley. He’s been talking to him for a while and it cropped up in conversation so we are training there, which will be brilliant for us.
‘It’s not an Arsenal against Tottenham thing at all. Arsenal are not doing anything they wouldn’t have done for anyone else.
‘We are absolutely delighted to be going to Spurs. The gesture from Arsene Wenger and his staff will just add to our whole weekend.
‘They are a good, knowledgeable crowd at
White Hart Lane and, hopefully, by the end of the game we will have
done well enough to earn some applause.’
Yates travelled to Dublin to see Spurs in action against Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League last month.
‘I went over to Ireland because I just had an inkling they would be resting one or two,’ he said.
‘But there’s no point in me trying to second-guess what they will do. Let’s face it, whoever Harry Redknapp puts out will be decent. We see them on Match of the Day every week. It’s a daunting prospect for us but this group won’t show any fear.’