Cheltenham Town hope West Ham tie can boost club finances

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West Ham a 'dream tie' for Cheltenham

Cheltenham chairman Paul Baker hopes the League Cup tie with West Ham will raise the club's profile this season.

The Robins beat Crawley 4-3 to book a second-round clash with Premier League Hammers at Upton Park on Tuesday.

The League Two club are set to make more than £50,000 from the game but as well as financial rewards, Baker hopes it will boost their declining crowds.

"All these are opportunities we want to grab because they may not come around again," he told BBC West Sport.

"Financially it makes such a massive difference for a League Two club. It's something you don't budget for so the income will come in very useful.

"It's a nice boost at this time of year as well, as the crowds are a bit of a struggle."

It is the third time in three seasons that Cheltenham have been drawn against top-flight opposition. In January 2012, they lost 3-0 at Tottenham in the FA Cup, and a year later lost 5-1 to Everton at Whaddon Road.

The club have also been involved in the play-off campaigns for the past two seasons - losing to Crewe at Wembley before last term's semi-final defeat by Northampton.

Despite their improved success, their crowd numbers have averaged just over 3,000 for the past two seasons.

"We've had significant chances to boost our brand over the last few years but it's just disappointing that despite all the success we've had, our crowds are still disappointingly low," added Baker.

"We need to be getting up to 3,500 or 4,000 to enable us to have a competitive playing budget.

"It's hard work getting there. I don't know what else we can do - in terms of getting big clubs here and success - to get those crowds up.

"When we budget, we do it on a certain level of crowd and assume we're going to get knocked out of all the cups in the first round.

"These type of games are literally bonuses for us. This game will let us repay a little bit of debt and will also help the playing budget."

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