Steven Schumacher will be hoping for a swift response from a catastrophic evening in the capital at Charlton on Tuesday evening as the Greens get back on the road as they head to Gloucestershire to take on newly promoted Forest Green Rovers on Saturday afternoon. It’s safe to say, we didn’t have too many games that left us feeling as low as we did after Tuesday night last season and one of the hallmarks of the side last year was how quickly the side bounced back from defeats and reacted positively.
With a mixed record of two wins at home preceded by two defeats on the road, the many members of the green army who will descend on the New Lawn this weekend will have plenty to ponder in the build-up to the game. Schuey voiced his frustrations in his post-match interviews with the media following the 5-1 defeat at The Valley and will be without the experienced James Wilson for this contest as he serves his one game suspension. Nigel Lonwijk has already been confirmed as the man to replace ‘Willo’.
Elsewhere on the park, Danny Mayor is expected to return to the starting XI to add to Argyle’s attacking options perhaps in place of either Adam Randell or Jordan Houghton who both had frustrating evenings in midweek. Morgan Whittaker would be right to feel aggrieved if he loses his place and it would be a surprise to see Ryan Hardie sit this one out.
Promotion last season was something that has been building for a little while with Forest Green who dominated League Two last year taking the title on goal difference over Exeter. Rovers suffered just two defeats in the first six months of the season in a run that took them right away from the pack. It was an indifferent end to the campaign, but the hard work was done for Rob Edwards’ troops as they reached the next step on owner/chairman Dale Vince’s ambitious pursuit of Championship football.
Following promotion, Edwards was poached by relegated Watford leaving the hot seat free for Notts County manager Ian Burchnall to make the step up to EFL management. Burchnall is one of a few young, exciting managers who’ve gained valuable experience abroad before returning to their native country and followed a similar route to Brighton boss Graham Potter by starting his career in Sweden and replaced Potter at Ostersund when he headed home to take over at the Seagulls.
Both Kane Wilson and Ebou Adams, key members from the promotion winning side departed in the summer for Bristol City and Cardiff City respectively whilst Nicky Cadden headed to Yorkshire to join Michael Duff’s Barnsley. Reece Brown, who was a part of FGR’s first League Two squad before joining Huddersfield. That move didn’t work out and he’s now back at the New Lawn. Armani Little is someone Argyle will know well from their meetings with Torquay as he has made the step up from the National League into the EFL.
It’s been a steady start for Forest Green who have a record of a win, draw and defeat to their name in their first season in League One. An opening day win at the Memorial Stadium against Bristol Rovers was backed up with an eye-opening defeat at the hands of an Ipswich side that will be at the top end of the league table come the end of the season, but it was a performance that did have its positives. A draw at Sincil Bank last weekend was hard earned for Burchnall’s side with former Sunderland and Crystal Palace front man Connor Wickham bagging the equaliser.
There’s a recognisable spine to Forest Green’s side with former Grecian Jordan Moore-Taylor sitting in the middle of a back three, former Coventry youth prospect Ben Stevenson anchoring the midfield and former Pilgrim and skipper Jamille Matt leading the front line. It’s often a possession based 3-5-2 that is employed by Rovers who look to build up their play patiently before delivering a sucker punch to their rivals. Home form is likely to be key in their bid for stability in the division and having not played in midweek due to a waterlogged pitch, Burchnall will be hoping this is the game to kick start their campaign at home but rest assured, Steven Schumacher, Joe Edwards and their band of merry men will make them work very hard for everything out there in what promises to be a mouth-watering clash between two sides who play the right way and are led by two exciting, promising, young English managers.