PREVIEW: Forest Green Rovers v Wanderers

Wanderers head back down to Gloucestershire looking to bounce back from Tuesday night’s defeat at Cheltenham Town.

Defeat at Whaddon Road was only the Whites’ third defeat of the campaign after the best start to a league season in 22 years.

After disappointment with the manner of the 1-0 loss to the Robins, boss Ian Evatt will be looking for a positive response against a Forest Green Rovers side which is in the bottom three after taking eight points from their first 11 games after winning promotion last term.

Wanderers won 1-0 on their only previous visit to the New Lawn in March 2021 as Evatt’s men extended an unbeaten run to 13 games on their way to promotion from League Two.

Manager quotes:

Ian Evatt: “They’ve had a tough start but this is a tough league. I think they’re still getting to grips with this division and what it brings.

“They’re a dangerous team and still have the capabilities of scoring goals.

“They have a way of playing and we have to respect that, of course, and focus on everything we didn’t do on Tuesday night and be better in every department.

“If we do that, I have a great belief in this squad to be able to win football matches.

“I know what they can do. I know what they’re capable of.

“We did underperform (at Cheltenham). We’re sorry for that but it’s been a good start, statistically the best start in 20-odd years, and hopefully we can go and build on that on Saturday with a good victory.”

Forest Green manager Ian Burchnall: “They (Wanderers) are great with the ball, they’re very calm, they’ve got good patterns of play, all three centre-halves are comfortable.

“They’ve got quality up front, Dion Charles, (Jon Dadi) Bodvarsson, (Elias) Kachunga. They’ve got real quality in there. I think if you give them time and space, they can really hurt you with the ball.

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“We’ve just got to try to relax and understand that we are underdogs in these sorts of games and try to embrace that underdog spirit a lot more than maybe place bigger expectation on ourselves that we should just naturally go out and win this game.

“Of course, we want to win it, but we should try to embrace that spirit.”

Team news

Wanderers are likely to have wing-back Conor Bradley and midfielder Kieran Lee back in their squad.

The pair were rested for the mid-week loss at Cheltenham as Lee’s game time is monitored and teenager Bradley was given a breather after a bout of illness and busy start to the season with both Wanderers and Northern Ireland.

The Whites have no fresh injury concerns from the defeat at Whaddon Road, while midfielder Lloyd Isgrove was able to play 90 minutes for the B team on Tuesday.

Forest Green could have defender Baily Cargill back from injury after more than a month out.

On-loan Sheffield United defender Harry Boyes could be in contention for a debut after also returning to training with Rovers.

Experienced striker Jamille Matt is still out but midfielder Ben Stevenson is expected to be fit after picking up a knock in last week’s loss to Burton Albion.

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Form guide

Wanderers saw their four-game winning run in League One ended at Cheltenham.

The 1-0 defeat was the Whites’ first loss since being beaten at Plymouth on August Bank Holiday Monday.

Wanderers will be seeking a second away win of the campaign to stay inside League One’s top six.

Forest Green are currently third from bottom of the table after winning League Two last season.

Rovers have won one and lost five of their six home league games so far and have lost their last three league fixtures – including a 3-2 defeat at Burton last time out –since taking four points from two games in early September.

Officials

Referee: Marc Edwards

Assistant referees: Danny Gratton and Andrew Laver

Fourth official: Andy Bennett

Kick-off

Saturday 3pm

Coverage

Live commentary is available with an iFollow audio pass, with a live stream viewable for overseas subscribers. For details click HERE

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