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PREVIEW: Forest Green’s Liam Shephard ahead of the trip to Colchester

Forest Green Rovers defender Liam Shephard admits his side
are “lacking a bit of confidence” ahead of their promotion six-pointer tonight against sixth-placed Colchester United.

The Welshman has been struggling with injury since November and having only just started to return to the Forest Green line-up, admits it’s been difficult to watch the team play without him:

“I’m not the type of person to just sit on the side and watch the game,” he told Forest Green’s official website.

“I’m the worst watcher and I become a fan and when you see the boys not doing well, you just want to help them.

“We’re on a bad run of games but there are still 10 games left and we need to be more positive.”

The former Peterborough defender managed to pick up 20 minutes of first-team football last Saturday in Rovers’ disappointing 3-0 loss to Morecambe and admits that the amount of football he picked up last weekend was “perfect.”

“Chucking me straight back in would have been too much because we have got three games in the space of the week.

“I felt quite sharp when I came on Saturday but we were 2-0 down at the time and we just had to do something.”

Speaking on the 3-0 defeat to 20th placed Morecambe, the 24 year-old admits it’s a disappointing results to take especially with their current promotion push, but does not believe it comes down to one thing in particular:

“I think it’s the run of results we have had,” he said.

“I can’t really put my finger on it but it’s just from what I have seen on the side, the boys are a bit down and might be worried about the play-offs themselves.

“Now we are out of the play-offs, we have got two good games to come back and we have got nothing to lose and I think the boys have got to believe in ourselves because I certainly do.”

The result leaves Forest Green in 9th place, three places and three points off the current play-off positions in League Two, but believes it could be the wake-up call that both he and the club needed to make sure they’re still in the promotion push:

“We’ve come in today and the boys have made sure that we have spoken to each other and made sure we are positive.

“The atmosphere is more upbeat than I thought it would be and I hope it has given us a bit of a kick up the back side that we need.”

Tomorrow’s opponent Colchester currently occupy the final play-off position in sixth place and Shephard has accepted that the game has to be a must-win, should they want to finish ahead of the U’s come the end of the season:

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Colchester aren’t the only promotion-chasing side Forest Green face in their final 10 games, with 7th placed Carlisle United still to come in just the game after and Shephard admits they’ll “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.

“We are here as a team, we are Forest Green, and everyone is here together.

“We get a win against Colchester and then we go into Saturday’s game with the fans behind us and we win that and we’re back in the play-offs above both of them.

“It’s 30 points, just believe and I think we’ll be alright.”

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