FOREST Green Rovers manager Steve Cotterill described his side's defeat to relegation rivals Sutton United as a "bump in the road" and refused to see it as a decisive result.

Having won back-to-back games inside a week, Rovers slipped to a 1-0 home defeat thanks to Josh Coley’s first-half goal, giving bottom-of-the-table Sutton a lifeline in their bid to produce a 'Great Escape'.

But with eight games to go, Cotterill was measured ahead of the relegation run-in.

"I haven’t had time to look at the table, but you know when we moved out of the bottom two the other night I wasn’t euphoric – it’s where the table is at the end of April, isn’t it?" said the boss.

"We’ve got lots of games between now and then. And as I said before, there’ll be a bump in the road and today, that’s one of those bumps."

Sutton planted the first glove on Rovers inside three minutes when Oli Sanderson’s flighted cross was nodded on to the top of Norwich loanee Vicente Reyes’ crossbar from Coley. Charlie Lakin rattled the base of Rovers’ post with a skidding strike from outside the box.

The hosts’ first opportunity arrived after 21 minutes – Christian Doidge lifted the ball over the crossbar and moments later, Tyrese Omotoye stabbed his shot against the foot of Steve Arnold’s post.

Sutton broke the deadlock five minutes before the break as Coley clipped a delightful strike beyond the outstretched glove of Reyes.

From the second-half get-go, Rovers were hunting parity. Arnold grabbed Ryan Inniss’ downward header from a Dominic Thompson corner and a brave Sam Hart defensive header denied Forest Green striker Doidge at the far post as Sutton held out.

"When I think back to what we’ve done, when we’ve had those three-game weeks, we do seem to have a little bit of a problem when we get to that third game," added Cotterill.

"I think there’s been so many of our guys that have been injured and trying to come back through an injury and they’re not fit enough where they can start. Because you don’t know whether they’re going to last the game or whether they’re going to break down again.

"The tendency for me is to always try and keep that team and keep that continuity, especially when you have a very short space of time – training time in the week – so it wasn’t that they didn’t want to do it today, but we just couldn’t."

"We couldn’t get ourselves going. I felt it after about 10 minutes. What we did need is we needed that chance where Tyrese hit the post. We needed that to go in for us to give us a little bit of a leg up in the game."