Hereford United full-back Andy Gallinagh prepares for FA Cup second-round clash at old club Cheltenham Town (From Hereford Times)
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Hereford United full-back Andy Gallinagh prepares for FA Cup second-round clash at old club Cheltenham Town
HEREFORD United full-back Andy Gallinagh has more reason than most to want to do well when the Bulls visit Cheltenham Town in the second round of the FA Cup on Monday, December 3.
The 27-year-old has proved a solid performer in the United back-line since his arrival from Bath City during the summer.
And he will want to continue that good form at Whaddon Road after playing almost 150 games for the Robins during a long spell with the Gloucestershire club.
“I was at Cheltenham for eight years in total and it will be strange going back there,” he said.
“But I am a Hereford player now and I want to get through to the next round. I have to treat it as any other game.
“It’s our aim to make an upset which would be great for us as players and for the club in general.
“I imagine I should get a halfdecent reception. I have had a few messages from Cheltenham fans on Twitter but it’s not about me, it’s about us progressing to the next round.”
Evesham-based Gallinagh had played at under-19 level for Cheltenham before working his way into the first-team squad.
“After school I got a full-time job working for Peugeot and then played for Stratford Town where luckily I got spotted,” he said.
“I played under John Ward at first, then Keith Downing, Martin Allen and Mark Yates. I enjoyed it there but it came to an end as most things do.
“We had a few ups and a few downs as well but it was run right by the chairman so it was a good experience.”
With Marley Watkins, Brian Smikle and Michael Townsend also in the Bulls squad, Gallinagh is fully aware of the long-tradition of player links between the sides.
“I played a bit at Cheltenham when Steve Guinan was up top,” he said.
“But there are a lot of people who have played for both clubs.”
When he left Cheltenham last season, Gallinagh had to move temporarily out of the f u l l - t i m e game.
“ I knew L e e Howells, the assistant manager at B a t h City, from his time at Cheltenham so I went down there and got a few games under my belt,” he said.
“We trained on Tuesday and Thursday nights but I was still training at Cheltenham most days as well so it was just a question of getting more games and getting noticed again.
“When the chance came at the start of this season and there was a possibility of signing here, I jumped at it.
“The management here and the set-up of the club is brilliant and I am enjoying it very much.”
At Edgar Street, Gallinagh has become established at right-back but has plenty of experience in other positions if necessary.
“Right-back was my preferred place at the start of my career but I ended up playing a lot of games at centre-half for Cheltenham,” he said.
“But I’ve enjoyed getting back into the full-back role which is an entirely different aspect of the game, more one-v-ones and chasing the wingers and stuff but I have enjoyed it and I’m learning again because I am back in that role so hopefully I can progress and get better.”
He acknowledges that the season has not entirely gone as everyone would have wished but believes that things are improving at Edgar Street.
“The season here has been a bit up and down but I really enjoyed the way we started,”
“Results did not really go our way but I think that we are on the up now.
“We have had a few clean sheets and picked up a few points so I’m looking forward to finishing the season strongly.”
And he believes the Bulls fans can play a big part in encouraging the side to greater success.
“The fans have been brilliant all season and the more that come the better it is,” he said.
“They are like a 12th man when you hear them so the more that come, hopefully the better we do.
“The game at Cheltenham Town is a local derby and whenever I have played in that game before there has been a good atmosphere.
“Hopefully we can keep the Cheltenham fans quiet and make an upset.
“We’ll look to go there and win a game of football.”