Our thanks to @CharlieDale09 from twitter for giving us his views on the progress of League Two’s smallest club (by population, not budget), Forest Green Rovers.
How has the season gone for you so far?
Excellently. To be challenging for the play-offs and a possible promotion following a close relegation battle last season is a huge, drastic improvement!
Who has been your key player and why?
Liam Shephard (RB) – Superb summer acquisition. He’s got everything for this level. Goals, assists, passing, great defending etc etc. It’s no coincidence that when he got injured we started losing games and his return against Yeovil (a) brought a return to winning ways for us!
Which player has disappointed you the most this season and why?
George Williams (LM/RM) – After coming in from Fulham and being on Wales’ books for their superb Euro 2016 campaign, he looked like a stellar signing for this level. However he has struggled for starts lately after a poor start with virtually no goals or assists; or creativity for that matter! Lacking in confidence and therefore ability. Shame!
Which game have you enjoyed the most to date and why?
Grimsby 1-4 FGR – What a way to start the season on the opening day. I went up there with hope rather than expectation with a dour record against them previously but my word did we blow them away. Everything clicked for us that day and we looked superb, especially with the neat, passing build up play. A long journey well rewarded and a great sign of things to come.
What has been the lowest point of your season so far?
FGR 0-1 Morecambe – Do I even need to explain this one? Despite dominating that game with ridiculous possession and territory stats we couldn’t hit a barn door! A frustrating and worrying afternoon indicated both the absence of a proven goal scorer and confidence ebbing away following our magnificent unbeaten start to the season.
How do you think the second half of the season will go for you?
With the right recruitment in January I see no reason why we can’t sneak in the play-offs. I’m trying not to dream at this stage to avoid disappointment but I believe we’re capable of achieving something great. We’ve got an exciting, demanding schedule over Christmas and New Year with lots of local derbies to overcome first though!
What will you be hoping to see happen at your club in the transfer window?
Can we being Doidge back? We’ve missed a goal scorer so far. I believe if he’d of stayed in the summer we’d comfortably be in the top 3 by now. So a striker is key. Maybe a few other tinkers in and around the squad with a little more cover to come in but nothing drastic needs to happen.
Which other League 2 players would you like to see your side sign?
James Norwood (Tranmere) – Self explanatory: GOALS! A mistake to let him leave us in the first place. Would fit in a treat. I think there’s too many burnt bridges and better offers on the table for him to even think about returning, however!
Will Boyle (Cheltenham) – Anyone from MK Dons or Lincoln would be great but totally unfeasible. As would any of the top scorers in the league. So I’ve gone slightly more obscure. I think he’d make a solid CB for us and fit in brilliantly with McGinley and Gunning in a back 3. Cheltenham fans will hate me for saying it, sorry, but we poached Winchester from them in the summer so with our much advanced budget to theirs I think it’s realistic.
Any other comments you’d like to make about your team or the season?
I guess I’d just like to point out that it may come as a surprise to some but I’m not actually a vegan! I think we get a lot of bad press for being so ambitious as a club and a fan base, and whilst I’m unbelievably grateful for the foundations we’ve built in recent years (I’ve seen us lose all over the country from Arlesey Town to Alfreton Town and seen many big teams fall down the leagues past us in the process so I can appreciate it without rose-tinted glasses!) we shouldn’t settle for a moment.
One day it might go sour and we can then reminisce on the good rise and times but for now we’ve got to keep pushing and getting behind the team to achieve even more for our little village club! The thought of going from playing at dingy grounds like Bath and Nuneaton to playing at 30,000 seater stadiums in League 1 and above within 10 years is tantalising. I’m very grateful to be a FGR fan… long may it continue!