OPINION: 13 day rest welcome as Forest Green look to turn results around

An early Shaun Harrad strike and a Gerry McDonagh brace consigned Forest Green to a second defeat in three games, which has closed the gap behind the National League leaders to one point.

The hosts took the lead, against the run of play, when Harrad headed in a cross past Rovers goalkeeper Sam Russell from close range after 15 minutes – after Huddersfield-loanee Luke Coddington saved Darren Carter’s early penalty.

The Red Dragons doubled their lead on the half hour mark through McDonagh’s rebounded effort, after Russell saved Paul Rutherford’s initial shot. Carter then halved the deficit when he latched onto debutant Manny Monthe’s header across goal to give Mark Cooper’s men hope after an hour.

Dean Keates’ men secured the win deep in stoppage time when McDonagh capitalised on plenty of space to net his second, Wrexham’s third and Keates’ first win in permanent charge.

Elliot Owens reflects on Forest Green’s 3-1 defeat away to Wrexham…

Manny Monthe set to compete for places after making efficient debut…

Forest Green announced the signing of Manny Monthe from National League South side Bath City on Thursday as Cooper wanted “To add some power and pace at the back.”

Monthe, 21, came on before the hour mark and grabbed himself an assist 11 minutes into his debut, setting up Carter with a header in the Wrexham penalty box.

The defender came close to netting a goal of his own, with his first touch of the ball in a Rovers shirt, but unfortunately headed Keanu Marsh-Brown’s corner wide of the mark.

Manager Mark Cooper highlighted his performance in a post-match interview with The Stroud News and Journal.

“The big fella looked a real hand full on the left hand side,” Cooper said.

“Powerful, quick and great left foot – he is another one that gives us something to work with for certain.”

Not a bad debut at all, he will certainly give Dan Wishart, Charlie Clough, Aarran Racine and Ethan Pinnock plenty of competition for regular starts.

13-days off now for Mark Cooper to really get the players focused and turn results around…

Due to Eastleigh’s involvement in the FA Cup and the fact FGR have played a game more than most in the division, the club now have a 13 day break before their next outing, in the FA Trophy, which, I believe is a good thing…

Mark Cooper will feel results haven’t reflected performances as his side have had tough fixtures of late, but Rovers still need positiresults. With this lengthy break and an FA Trophy tie before their next league game at home to Dover, it gives Cooper plenty of time to work with the players before a hectic Christmas/New Year schedule and I wouldn’t be surprised to see numerous changes made for their FA Trophy tie to see what squad can do the job as Rovers push for a Football League birth.

Speaking of The FA Trophy, who will Rovers want?

The draw for the FA Trophy first round proper takes place 1pm on Monday, with ties taking place on weekend commencing 9th December.

As to who FGR would like, I don’t think Cooper will be wanting any team in particular – I would imagine he will use this as an opportunity to experiment with his squad to come up with a winning XI and rightly so, after picking up only one point in three games.

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