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In Opposition: Forest Green Rovers

U's make trip to Innocent New Lawn on Saturday afternoon

25 February 2021

Mark Cooper's promotion chasing Forest Green Rovers will host Colchester United on Saturday afternoon after the hosts missed their chance to go top of the table, losing 3-1 at home to bottom club Southend United.

Manager - Mark Cooper

Top Scorer(s) - Jamille Matt (12)

Last Result - Forest Green Rovers 1-3 Southend United 24/02/2021

Following their 3-1 defeat at home to Southend United on Wednesday evening, Forest Green Rovers missed their chance to take the top spot. 

Although Cooper's side still have two games in hand on table topping Cambridge United, it will feel as though it was an opportunity missed against Southend United who before the game were propping up the table. 

Rovers were in fact three goals down before their top scorer Jamille Matt got on the scoresheet, albeit with just four minutes of time remaining. 

And speaking after the game, Cooper was understandably disappointed with the performance of his side. 

"It happens now and again in football, when you're on a good run you have to take one on the chin. We were terrible. If we could play well and win every week we wouldn't be here." - Mark Cooper

"The players wouldn't be here, they would be playing a lot higher. I wouldn't be here, I would be managing a lot higher. The players have been magnificent in the last five, won four drawn one. 

"We just need the boys to commit when they play. I understand about being tired from Sunday, but the players get plenty of rest. We've just got to prepare now for Saturday.

"I can't be too harsh on the players, we are in a brilliant position, we have got to kick on now."

Rovers will be keen to get the defeat against Southend out of their system at the weekend and will see an out of form Colchester United as the perfect opportunity for this, while the U's will want to pull themselves away from the bottom of the table starting this weekend. 

The U's will know what they are up against in the strength of Forest Green after going toe to toe with them earlier in the season. 

Jamille Matt came on as a substitute in the game against Southend and found the net once again, as he has done in his last three appearances. He has bagged himself twelve goals this season in thirty appearances in all competitions, including a hat-trick against Scunthorpe United earlier in the campaign. 

On-loan forward Odin Bailey has been a livley addition to Cooper's front line, with four goals and three assists in all competitions this season. Only Nicky Cadden has more for Rovers, with six assists to go along with his three goals in the 2020/21 campaign. 

In the centre of midfield, Rovers have a familiar name in Isaac Hutchinson. The older brother of U's youngster Jake Hutchinson is on loan from Derby County this season after making the switch in the summer from Southend United. He has made three appearances since joining in January, including a starting role against his former side in the week. 

Mark Cooper is likely to be without experienced centre-half Chris Stokes in his back line, after the twenty-nine year old went off injured in their midweek game. Stokes had rejoined the Nailsworth side after five years away in 2020, and had been a regular in the side this year. 

In goal, Luke McGee has kept six clean sheets in the league this season with Forest Green having one of the tightest defences in the league. Shipping just twenty-nine goals in twenty-nine games, only three sides have conceded fewer. 

It will be a tough ask to beat a Forest Green side that have only lost six times in the league this season. No side have lost fewer games, althoug Exeter City have also only lost six games. 

Watch the U's in Wayne Brown's first game in temporary charge on Saturday afternoon with a £10 match pass from iFollow. Click HERE to get yours. 

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