Matt Edwards
Tuesday 12 March 2019

Forest Green Rovers make the trip to Colchester United this evening for a second away trip in four days.

After Saturday’s disappointing 3-0 defeat at Morecambe, Rovers look to return to winning ways and earn their first win in four.

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

What we said: 

Liam Shephard vs Tranmere

“It is a tough place to go but we need to go back to the basics, make sure we are spot on with them and then the confidence will come,” said Liam Shephard.

“We are a very good footballing team and once we play our style of football, we are unplayable, but it’s just getting back to that now.”

“We need to believe that and need the fans to be on our side.

“It’s all good to stick by us when we are winning but when we are losing, we need a bit of a lift as well.”

What they said:

John McGreal Colchester manager

“We’ll do our work and then it’s another home game under the lights for our fans to look forward to,” said manager John McGreal.

“We play a totally different team again and Forest Green will bring their own threats.

“We got a reaction (against Newport) but now we have to try and back that up against another formidable team in division two who have done particularly well again, this season.

“It’s a different style again and Coops (Mark Cooper) will come here with his team looking for the win as much as we are, so we know that it’s going to be another tough game.”

Injury news: 

Forest Green Rovers: 

James Montgomery before Grimsby

James Montgomery missed out at the Globe Arena with an injured back with Lewis Ward returning in between the sticks.

Liam Shephard also made his first appearance since returning from injury as he stepped off the bench as a 69th minute substitute.


Harry Pell returned to training at the end of last month but is yet to appear on the bench or in the starting XI as yet.

Both Tom Lapslie and Brandon Comley remain side-lined for the U’s with their respective injuries.

About: Colchester

Like FGR, Colchester are enjoying a good season on the pitch this season and sit above Forest Green by three points.

It was a convincing 3-0 win at home to Newport County that lifted them back into the play-off spots, currently occupying sixth position in the league table.

The win ended a mini blip of three games without a win and was their sixth win of the season by a scoreline of three or more goals.

Former Tranmere Rovers and Ipswich Town player John McGreal is the manager of the club having replaced Kevin Keen in April 2016 after a brief caretaker spell.

Key player: Sammie Szmodics

Sammie Szmodics

Attacking midfielder Sammie Szmodics currently sits atop The U’s scoring charts for the season with 12 goals, including one at The New Lawn, to his name.

The 23-year-old has been at Colchester for almost the entirety of his career, albeit with a three-game loan spell at Braintree Town where he netted twice. He already has over 130 league appearances at Colchester during which he has found the back of the net 34 times.

Last time we met: 

A frustrating evening at The New Lawn saw Colchester United emerge 1-0 victors.

Despite some positive spells from Forest Green Rovers, they couldn't work their way back into the encounter after Sammie Szmodics 26th minute strike.

The first meaningful shot of the game fell the way of Colchester and it would prove to be the effort that opened the scoring.

Frank Nouble was the first to try his luck and although the initial effort was well blocked, Szmodics was on hand to latch onto the second ball and fire home from the edge of the area.

Just minutes before the break the visitors had another chance as Szmodics broke through the middle, but his effort was well saved by James Montgomery.

Forest Green had the ball in the back of the net with 66 minutes on the clock as Reece Brown’s beautifully weighted pass found substitute Reuben Reid in the area and he brought the pass down on his chest before firing home but the linesman’s flag ruled the goal out.

Reid was putting himself about up front and a almost opened the scoring after 72 minutes as Archibald fizzed a cross into the area but the striker’s header was well saved at point-blank range.


Success has been hard to come by for Forest Green Rovers against Colchester, the two sides meeting three times, all in the Football League.

The first meeting of the two sides came at the end of August 2017 with a 5-1 defeat for Rovers at the JobServe Community Stadium, to round off a first month in the league.

The two meetings at The New Lawn have also gone the way of the Us in the form of a 2-1 and a 1-0 victory.


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.