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Matt Edwards
Friday 08 February 2019

After last weekend’s game at Swindon Town was postponed due to the snow, Forest Green Rovers return to action tomorrow as they play host to Notts County at The New Lawn.

Notts County currently sit at the bottom of League Two, seven points adrift of safety, while Rovers are looking to close the gap on the automatic promotion spots.

Here is all you need to know ahead of the game: 

What we said:

Mark Cooper vs Grimsby Town

“Notts County have got a little bit of everything. They've got some good experience with some good characters in there,” said Rovers boss Mark Cooper.

"They've got a lot of good characters in there with some good young legs, two exciting wide players. It's a game we're looking forward to, we fully respect their threats but if we play well we have a chance to win."

"It's been disappointing for them. It's a really big club at this level and they'll be really hoping that they can get enough points to stay in this league."

What they said:

Neal Ardley Notts County manager

“Forest Green make their own lives easier with the way they retain the ball and make teams decide whether to press or sit off them,” said Notts County manager Neal Ardley.

“We’ll have a plan A, B and C in place which we have worked on in training but we need to make our attacking threats shine through and show them that if they turn the ball over they will have difficulty stopping us.”

“The intensity and quality have risen,” he said. “I think we can do it and the players have the determination.

“We’ve brought in new guys that tell the other lads what they expect and demand from them in training, so any sloppiness or lack of effort is jumped on.

Injury news: 

Forest Green Rovers: 

James Montgomery won’t be up for selection after his horror injury against Mansfield Town, the goalkeeper losing several teeth and being left needing stitches after taking a boot to the face.

Forest Green Rovers midfielder Dayle Grubb remains unavailable for selection due to a knee injury, but should be coming to the end of his spell on the sidelines.

Notts County: 

Winger Enzio Boldewijn was a bonus return for Neal Ardley last weekend as he made first start against Lincoln City since recovering from a knee injury.

About: Notts County

After starting the season among the favourites for the League Two title, Notts find themselves battling to preserve their status as the world’s oldest Football League club with 16 games remaining.

The Magpies are seven points from safety and the stakes are high as they look to avoid relegation from the fourth tier for the first time in their history.

They took until the end of September to earn their first win, beating Crewe 3-1 and sparking a run of three straight victories.

They’ve won just once since, though – a 3-2 success over Tranmere in December, Neal Ardley’s only win to date.

The former Wimbledon boss is Notts’ third manager of the campaign after Kevin Nolan was relieved of his duties five games in and his replacement Harry Kewell’s short tenure, which lasted just 14 matches.

Ardley took over at the end of November and, although he hasn’t seen an immediate upturn in results, beefed up his squad in January with no less than eight new faces coming through the door.

Craig Mackail-Smith, Michael Doyle and Jim O’Brien added experience to the youthful exuberance provided by Virgil Gomis, Ben Barclay, Sam Stubbs and Ryan Schofield, with former Grimsby man Mitch Rose completing the acquisitions.

Last week all of the January additions featured as Notts earned a point against league leaders Lincoln.

That draw represented a good start to a tricky February, with games against rivals Mansfield, Newport and Tranmere still to come before the month is out.

Key player: Jon Stead

Jon Stead Notts County

Striker Jon Stead joined Notts in the summer of 2015 after leaving Bradford City.

The veteran striker has bags of experience having played - and scored - in all four tiers of English football.

His CV boasts spells at the likes of Sunderland, Blackburn and Sheffield United and he finished as the Magpies’ top scorer in his first two seasons with the club, hitting his 50th goal for Notts in January 2019. Stead currently sits on 10 goals for the season

He was given the captain’s armband at the start of the season.

Last time we met: 

Harry Kewell watched on from the stands as Notts County lost to Forest Green, leaving the 10-man Magpies anchored to the bottom of the League Two table.

Mark Cooper's side underlined the size of the job Kewell had on his hands as they took the lead in the first half when Liam Shephard lashed in past Ross Fitzsimons.

Notts' hopes of finding an equaliser went from bad to worse when Dan Jones was dismissed for a two-footed tackle on Lloyd James in the second half.

The visitors then made sure of the points when Reuben Reid capitalised on some poor Notts possession to beat Fitzsimons.

Cooper was incensed when Reid appeared to be fouled in the box by Rob Milsom, but referee Peter Wright was not interested.

Substitute Jon Stead then scored to give Notts hope, but the visitors sealed the win when substitute Dayle Grubb curled in late on.

Head-to-head:

Unlike many sides in League Two, Forest Green Rovers have only faced Notts County on four occasions, three coming in the league and one in the FA Cup.

Forest Green’s victory over County early in the season is the only time they have picked up all three points against the Magpies, having lost two and drawn one of the remaining three games.

Coverage: 

Full commentary of the match will be available on BBC Radio Gloucestershire as well as through the club’s digital audio offering– FGR LIVE. 

Stay up to date on Twitter by following @FGRFC_Official, which will have all of the team news before kick-off and updates throughout the game. 

There will also be key updates and team news on Facebook. Round-up the clash by checking out the club website where there will be a full report looking back on the encounter. 

Tickets are still available on the day of the game so there is still time to make the trip and support the team.