Forest Green Rovers return to The New Lawn tomorrow afternoon as they play host to fellow play-off contenders Carlisle United.
After an impressive 3-0 win over Colchester United in midweek, Rovers’ play-off charge is well and truly back on track. Following a defeat to Notts County, The Cumbrians have slipped outside of the play-offs but remain within just one point of Forest Green.
Here is all you need to know ahead of the game:
What we said:
FGR manager Mark Cooper said: “The Colchester result was a great result for the boys, a great result for the football club, so hopefully we’re back on track. There was a lot said after the Morecambe game, rightly so, and the players reacted in the best way possible.
“Carlisle are a possession based team, they’ve been playing 4-3-3 with a false nine. They’ve got some good players in their team. We had a good game against them at their place, where I think we played particularly well, so it’s another game where we fully respect their strengths.”
What they said:
“The recent form hasn’t been good enough, I understand that, but we’re still in the hunt and we can’t lose sight of that,” said Carlisle boss Steven Pressley.
“We must keep that positive outlook because we’re in a situation where a lot of good work has been done.”
Forest Green Rovers:
After a picking up a knock on Tuesday, Rovers skipper Lee Collins could be doubtful for tomorrow’s game and James Montgomery remains out with a bad back.
Forward Mark Cullen picked up with a groin injury against Swindon Town on Saturday so is unlikely to feature, as is versatile forward Arthur Gnahoua.
United have had an interesting season so far, including an unexpected managerial change to contend with as John Sheridan moved closer to home to join National League strugglers Chesterfield around halfway.
Former-Coventry boss Steven Pressley came in to take the reins and he hit the ground running as back-to-back victories took his team to the brink of the automatic promotion places.
A host of new signings during the January transfer have shown signs of bedding in over the course of the last month, but results have been more difficult to come by despite some good, eye-catching individual and team performances.
A young and energetic midfield is complemented by some experienced heads in defence and attack, and the feeling is still one of optimism as the Cumbrians remain in touch as one of the chasing pack.
Key player: Hallam Hope
Striker Hallam Hope joined United on a two-year deal in the summer of 2017. He had already spent time with the Blues when he initially moved to Cumbria on a one-month loan deal at the end of October 2015 before extending his stay until the end of that campaign having recovered from a troublesome ankle injury. As a youngster, Hope made a switch to Everton from Manchester City.
The striker currently has 13 goals and seven assists to his name this season and sits atop the U’s scoring charts, a few strikes ahead of his teammate Jamie Devitt.
Last time we met:
Forest Green Rovers emerged victorious after a well fought battle at Brunton Park.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 13th minute as Ben Morris notched his first professional goal before Carl Winchester added a second after 71 minutes.
It didn't take long for Carlisle United to respond though as Jamie Devitt fired home a penalty seven minutes later.
With the 15-minute mark approaching, Morris paid back his manager’s faith, the young striker being the first to react as Reece Brown’s deflected shot squirmed through, Morris gratefully lapping up the chance and tucking home underneath the keeper.
With 71 minutes on the clock Forest Green doubled their lead through a great move. Montgomery’s goal kick was flicked onto Morris by Brown and as the latter got the return, he fed the ball through to Winchester who slotted home inside the area.
Less than 10 minutes later, the hosts were back in the game as James was adjudged to have handled the ball as it came in from a corner. Devitt stepped up and confidently fired the spot kick home to Montgomery’s right, but FGR held on for the three points.
Carlisle United and Forest Green Rovers have met on five occasions across their years in League Two and the Conference. United currently have their noses in front with three victories to Rovers’ two, with no draws between the sides.
Two 1-0 victories saw Carlisle do the double over Forest Green last season, but Rovers are going into this game with the upper hand having claimed all three points last time the two sides met.
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.