Strikers fight for spot in team

Last updated : 06 January 2002 By The Chairman
Matthew Tipton and John Eyre are battling for the final place in Athletic's FA Cup third-round line-up. One of the two forwards will replace cup-tied David Reeves in the match at Cheltenham Town on Sunday. Tipton lost his place when Reeves signed before Christmas, paying the price for a run of one goal in 13 appearances. But he remains a key member of the squad and has missed only one of Athletic's 32 games this season.

Eyre (pictured), meanwhile, is returning sooner than expected from the ankle injury he suffered against Wigan last month. The summer arrival was in good form before his setback and could get the nod to partner Allan Smart up front.

Athletic will field a much-changed side against the third-division promotion chasers as Reeves, goalkeeper Paul Rachubka and full-backs Dean Holden and Chris Armstrong are all unavailable. Gary Kelly plays his first match since the cup tie at Hull, with Scott McNiven slotting into defence and Darren Sheridan likely to move from midfield to left-back.

There will be a fifth change if Stuart Balmer replaces Julien Baudet. Cheltenham are confident the game will go ahead. If a pitch inspection is needed, it will be at 9.30am on Sunday.