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A look at the opposition: Forest Green Rovers

15 September 2023

Club News

A look at the opposition: Forest Green Rovers

15 September 2023

Rovers head to the New Lawn for the first time this weekend as they renew acquaintances with an old Conference rival in Forest Green Rovers.

The Green have started life back in the fourth tier of English football with mixed results and are yet to really hit form, having scored only five league goals. 

As they prepare to welcome Rovers to Nailsworth, Forest Green currently sit 19th in Sky Bet League Two and they will be looking to ignite their fortunes in a bid to return to the third tier at the first of asking. 

LAST TIME OUT 

Forest Green Rovers 1 Crewe Alexandra 4 

Sky Bet League Two, Saturday, September 9, 2023 

Line-up: Daniels, Robson, Welch, Inniss, Bernard, Kadji (Dabo 53), Bunker (Jenks 72), Brown (Johnson 54), McAllister, Deeney (Omotoye 72), Taylor (Stevens 72). 

THE MANAGER 

Following Duncan Ferguson’s summer departure and Hannah Dingley’s brief spell as interim head coach, David Horseman took to the helm at The New Lawn in July. 

After coaching roles at both Bristol City and Watford, Horseman joined Southampton’s B team in 2019 and was a success in the youth set up over four years on the south coast. The 39-year-old guided the Saints to the Premier League 2 Division Two title in his final year in charge.  

THE KEY MEN 

Keeper: Luke Daniels 

The 35-year-old has played every minute of the campaign after joining Forest Green in the summer, with two clean sheets on his record so far. 

Having spent time in the academies of both Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion, Daniels found his first permanent home in 2015 when he joined Scunthorpe United. 

He made 101 appearances for the Iron before earning a move to Brentford in 2017. After 17 appearances in four years, he joined Middlesbrough but struggled for regular football ahead of his switch to the New Lawn. 

Defender: Jamie Robson 

A product of the Dundee United Academy, Robson made 133 appearances over seven years with the club at senior level and claimed a Scottish Championship title and Scottish Challenge Cup in the process. 

The 25-year-old moved across the border in 2021 with Lincoln City and made 39 appearances before switching to Forest Green in January. 

In the middle: Fankaty Dabo 

A right-back by trade, Fankaty Dabo has featured in midfield for Horseman’s side since his deadline day arrival in Gloucester. 

The Chelsea academy graduate spent the first years of his professional career on the club’s loan programme with the likes of Swindon Town, Vitesse and Sparta Rotterdam before finding a permanent home with Coventry City in 2019. 

He won the League One title in his first season with the Sky Blues as well as being named in the PFA Team of the Year for the division. 

Up top: Troy Deeney 

One of the most eye-catching signings of the summer in League Two, former Premier League striker Deeney landed at the New Lawn in a player-coach role. 

The 35-year-old made almost 400 appearances for Watford across 11 years, scoring 131 goals on his way to a pair of promotions to the top flight plus a FA Cup runners-up medal. 

The former Walsall trainee returned to the West Midlands in 2021 with boyhood club Birmingham City prior to his switch to Gloucestershire. 

HEAD-TO-HEAD 

Rovers first met Forest Green Rovers in the 1998/99 Conference campaign and fell to a 1-0 defeat at Belle Vue in the September of that season before playing out a goalless draw in the reverse fixture in February. In total, the two sides have crossed paths on 10 occasions with Rovers winning six times and the Green winning twice. 

The last time the sides went head-to-head was in the April of Rovers’ 2003 Conference promotion season when they took all three points away from The Lawn thanks to goals from David Morley and Paul Barnes. 

TURNED OUT FOR BOTH 

Both clubs enjoyed the services of left sided defender Joseph Mills, albeit at different stages of his career. Brother of Rovers promotion winner Matt, Mills joined Rovers on loan from Southampton in 2010 and impressed, scoring twice in 18 appearances from defence. Following his loan spell, the Englishman enjoyed numerous spells around the country before spending two years Down Under with Perth Glory. 

Upon his return to his homeland, he joined Forest Green and captained the club in League Two to make 68 appearances and score 11 times. 

Contributor: Jefferson Hall-Nolan 

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