FOOTBALL

Who will be Forest Green Rovers new captain?

Following the sudden departure of former club captain Liam Noble this morning we take a look at the players that may well be at the centre of manager Mark Cooper’s mind to fill the vacancy.

Here are Park Life Sport’s three candidates:

Lee Collins:

Age: 29

Position: Defender

Place of birth: Telford

Club Number: 5

Former Clubs: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Port Vale, Barnsley, Northampton Town, Mansfield Town

Who is he?

He started out at Wolverhampton Wanderers where he signed his first professional contract in 2007. He never made a first team appearance but collected a number of caps at youth level.

Following that he had spells with Port Vale, Barnsley and Shrewsbury Town before joining Northampton. He subsequently went on to help Northampton avoid relegation in the 2012/13 season by three points making 25 appearances.

In more recent times he has captained Mansfield Town in a two year spell with the club before joining The Green Devils at the start of this campaign.

He clearly has a history of captaining a number of the clubs and represents a player that could slip into the void left by Liam Noble.

Dale Bennett:

Age: 27

Position: Defender

Place of birth: Enfield, England

Club number: 2

Former clubs: Watford, Wealdstone, Kettering Town, Brentford, AFC Wimbledon, Yeovil Town

Who is he?

Bennett started his professional career with Watford after signing a contract with the club in 2008. He progressed through the Hornet’s youth system, captaining their under-18 side.

After spending six years there, mainly on loan at other clubs, Bennett signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Forest Green in January 2013, making his debut in a 1-1 draw with Luton Town in February of that year.

The defender has been part of three attempts to get the Green Devils into the Football League, playing a part in the in the 2014/15 playoff semi-final loss to Bristol Rovers and in the 2015/16 playoff final loss to Grimsby Town before helping them seal their League Two status with a 3-1 win over Tranmere Rovers last year.

Having made over 150 league appearances for the club, he could well be handed the armband on a permanent basis.

Sam Russell:

Age: 35

Position: Goalkeeper

Place of birth: Middlesborough, England

Club Number: 23

Former Clubs: Middlesborough, Darlington, Rochdale, Wrexham, Gateshead

Who is he?

Russell is seemingly a certainty to be in the team every week if fit at the moment and will surely be the favourite for the armband.

The stopper started with hometown club ‘Boro, but never made a league appearance for the club, enjoying loan spells with Gateshead, Darlington and Scunthorpe United before signing permanently for Darlington in 2004.

Russell’s first stint with Rovers came between 2012 and 2015, making 144 league appearances for the Green Devils.

A run of 144 consecutive appearances was brought to an end when he was replaced by Steve Arnold, and left the club in 2015 when his contract expired.

He returned no longer than a year later though and played every minute of the club’s 2016-17 campaign which saw them promoted to the Football League.

Now that Noble has left the club he will surely be missed by many at the New Lawn, not just for his high work rate in midfield but also his ability to find the net.

Check out his last goal for the Green Devils against Colchester United back in August:

Forest Green will take on Newport County at home on Saturday but the question on everyone’s mind will no doubt be who is leading them out of the tunnel?

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