Rovers face huge test

Stroud News and Journal: FGR boss David Hockaday Picture: Brian Rossiter FGR boss David Hockaday Picture: Brian Rossiter

ROVERS have a huge trip to Moss Rose tomorrow, to take on high-flying Macclesfield Town – the next port of call for Forest Green in a battle between second and third (3pm).

Macclesfield’s late stoppage time goals against Nuneaton Town last weekend ensured the Blue Square Bet Premier new boys slotted in ahead of Rovers into second place and David Hockaday’s side will be hoping that a positive result in Cheshire on Saturday can see Rovers swap places with their opponents.

Matches between the two sides have been few and far between in the club’s histories but the last time Rovers faced up against last year’s League Two basement club it broke a number of records.

After a fantastic draw away from home in the first round of the FA Cup at Moss Rose, Rovers brought their Football League opponents back to The Lawn for the replay in the 2001-02 season and after another draw eventually bowed out of the competition following an incredible penalty shootout.

In the end the Silkmen won the shootout 11-10 as a famous new record was set on a cold Tuesday night at Rovers former home.

This weekend’s match up probably promises a smaller chance of a new record being set but Hockaday is relishing the chance to line his side up in such a big game.

"I look forward to every game. Every game presents its own unique challenge," said Hockaday.

"We are going to go away from home to a team that scores lots of goals and concedes lots of goals. We will totally respect them because they’ve got some very good players. If they beat us then fair play, but I will only be disappointed if we don’t impose our play on them.

"If you keep on performing then over time you will win games. I think we proved that in the second half of last season because I felt we were playing well in the first half of the season but were not putting the results together. If we perform I’ll be happy."

Macclesfield have enjoyed a bright return to the non league game, 16 seasons after earning promotion in to the Football League, and the Silkmen have added a number of experienced Conference faces who have added to their quality so far this season.

Former Luton midfield man Charlie Henry as well as on loan Luton striker John Paul Kissock have strengthened the Cheshire clubs ranks as have the additions of front men Peter Winn and another ex-Luton man Matt Barnes-Homer. Goalkeeper Lance Cronin, formerly of Bristol Rovers, also has a lot of experience at this level with Ebbsfleet United.

Jared Hodgkiss and Paul Green are making excellent in progress in their return to action from pre-season injuries but Saturday’s match is too early for them to return. Chris Stokes and Chris Todd are definitely available however and it’s expected that Kieron Forbes will be fit to take part. Steve Brogan may be handed his debut.

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