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McCann expecting 'toughest test' against Forest Green

22 March 2024

Interviews

McCann expecting 'toughest test' against Forest Green

22 March 2024

Grant McCann believes the clash with Forest Green will be Rovers’ ‘toughest game for a long time’ as they battle for survival in Sky Bet League Two.

McCann was full of praise for the impact mentor Steve Cotterill has had since taking charge of the Gloucestershire club.

And he believes Cotterill’s side will provide the most stern test Rovers have faced in recent weeks.

“We’ve got tough games coming up and a very tough game on Saturday against a well-organised Forest Green team,” he said.

“It doesn’t surprise me how well they’re doing under Steve. I know him very well, my ex-manager at Cheltenham.

“This will be the toughest game we’ve had for a long time. I really do believe that.

“There’s been a huge change there. At the start of the season they were a real fluent football team, with lots of movement, rotations and different shapes.

“Then Troy [Deeney] came in and tried to make them a bit more solid and Steve has come in and certainly made them a lot more solid and picked up results.

“So there’s been a lot of change but one thing we’ve noticed is that their recruitment was very good in January and they spent a bit of money to try to get themselves out of trouble. Credit to the chairman for doing that.

“They’ve appointed a manager who knows League Two, League One and the Championship like the back of his hand so we’re under no illusions about what we’re coming up against.

“They’re a tough team and they’ll be hurting from the result they had last weekend. They’ve beaten some really good teams over the last few weeks so we know it’ll be tough.”

Speaking about his relationship with Cotterill, McCann says the veteran manager played a pivotal role in his early career as a player.

“I owe a lot to Steve and I always tell him that when I see him,” he said. “I was a young lad at West Ham and was probably losing my way a bit in understanding what it took to be a footballer.

“The loan I had at Cheltenham when he was manager just turned me into a man. The way he managed and galvanised that group brought them through from the National League and had a massive say in them getting to League One before he left.

“He’s had a tremendous career. And he’s had some dark times himself with his health but it’s great to see him getting over that and doing a good job.

“I hope he can keep Forest Green up. I hope we beat them on Saturday but after that I hope he keeps them up because I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”

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