Cards target top ten finish
4:06pm, Thu 17th Apr 2014
Forest Green Rovers v Woking
3pm on Saturday 19 April 2014
Garry Hillâ€™s side will have been relieved to have had a weekâ€™s break after a gruelling sequence of fixtures. But they will have to be on their mettle on Saturday to secure a point or three against a Rovers side who had an impressive midweek win at Macclesfield Town. Realistically, the play-offs are now out of reach for both clubs but both managers will be looking for a strong finish to the season. The Cards will have to do it, though, without Jack Marriott, who has been recalled by his parent club, Ipswich Town.
The Cards now sit in 11th place with three league games to go, having already surpassed last seasonâ€™s points total. The side are now eight points off 5th place, so any chance of making the play-offs is now only theoretical, with a number of other clubs better placed. Nevertheless Garry Hill will be keen to see his side achieve a top 10 finish if at all possible â€“ which would be a fine achievement for a part-time club in only the second season back in the top non-League tier.
The Cardsâ€™ wonderful six-match winning run came to an end last week against Cambridge United when tiredness eventually took its toll but Garry Hillâ€™s side showed huge character to fight back against Alfreton Town last Saturday, coming from behind to take all three points with two late goals.
Keiran Murtagh, with a hamstring injury, missed that game, opening the way for Joey Jones to start once more. Aaron Howe was also an absentee. Earlier today it was announced that Jack Marriott, who had scored 13 goals for the Cards in 23 games, had been recalled by Ipswich Town. Giuseppe Sole is the probable replacement for Jack in the Woking line-up.
FOREST GREEN ROVERS
Rovers started the season as one of the promotion favourites, a judgment that seemed to be borne out by their 8-0 thrashing of Hyde on the opening day. But subsequent results were modest at best, with September and October proving disastrous, the latter seeing five straight defeats in the league and FA Cup. Things began to pick up from November onwards following Ady Pennockâ€™s arrival as manager in place of Dave Hockaday. But the weather put paid to any games for almost a month from late January, with the result that they had an extremely busy March, playing eight league games. Four wins, two draws and two defeats werenâ€™t quite good enough to take them into the play-off places. April has witnessed a similar story with defeats at Woking and Barnet, a draw at Kidderminster and, most recently, wins at Dartford and Macclesfield.
Rovers have invested heavily in a very strong squad and were active in the transfer window. The most high profile arrival was that of 37 year-old Lee Hughes, who showed against Woking that he still knows where the net is. Hughes originally made his name with Kidderminster Harriers many moons ago but arrived from Port Vale, for whom he scored 10 goals in 18 starts last season.
A very familiar name to Woking fans will be that of defender Luke Oliver, who recently signed a contract to stay at Rovers till the end of the season, having played over 100 games for Bradford City.
Rovers had a major change in their strikers midway through the season. Ex-Barrow, Luton and York City hitman Jason Walker, who had been signed in the summer, went on loan to Southport. Matthew Barnes-Homer joined Cambridge United; Reece Styche went on loan to Wycombe Wanderers with a view to a permanent transfer; and Matty Taylor joined Chester on loan. Luke Rodgers, a very experienced striker with 136 goals in 460 appearances here and abroad, has also joined Rovers. He boosts a strike force which also contains James Norwood, Danny Wright, Magno Vieira and goalscoring midfielder Yan Klukowski in addition to Lee Hughes. The most recent arrival is Bradley Jordan, a young midfielder on loan from Charlton Athletic.
The New Lawn
GL6 0FG (Satnav: GL6 0ET)
Official website: www.forestgreenrovers.com
The Cards Trust coach leaves Kingfield at 11.30am. The cost is Â£16 for Trust members and Â£21 for non-members. To find out if there are any seats left, ring the Club Shop or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Take the M4 west-bound towards Bristol and exit at J18. Then head north on the A46 to Nailsworth. At the mini-roundabout turn left onto Spring Hill and The New Lawn is at the top of the road on the left.
The nearest station is Stroud, which is four miles from the ground. Three changes would be needed from Woking. The best bet looks to be taking the 11.25 from Woking to Guildford, arriving at 11.33. Then pick up the 11.44 to Reading, arriving at 12.19. From there take the 12.27 to Swindon, which gets in at 12.54. Finally, take the 13.15 from Swindon to Stroud, arriving at 13.45. On the way back, there is a similar journey in reverse, starting with the 17.35 from Stroud, returning to Woking at 20.11.
Over 65s: Â£10
Under 21s/Students: Â£7
Under 16s: Â£4
LAST TIME OUT
Woking 2 Forest Green Rovers 1
1 April 2014
The Cards notched up their fifth win in a row with this victory over Rovers. Both sides had chances in the first half, with Scott Rendell blazing the ball over the bar shortly before half-time.
Woking were made to pay for their missed chances in the 63rd minute when veteran striker Lee Hughes put Rovers ahead with a fine volley. But the lead lasted only four minutes, Rendell converting from the spot after Oshodi had been adjudged, perhaps harshly, to have handled the ball.
The Cards were now very much on the offensive, with Roversâ€™ keeper, Sam Russell, denying Jack Marriott twice before the Ipswich loanee finally got the better of him with an excellent finish.
â€˜Man of the matchâ€™ Kevin Betsy hit the underside of the bar, whilst Hughes went close for the visitors with a looping header.
Woking: Sam Beasant, Adam Newton (Mike Cestor 90), John Nutter, Mark Ricketts (c), Joe McNerney, Kevin Betsy, Keiran Murtagh, Scott Rendell, John Goddard, Jack Marriott (Brett Johnson 88), Joey Jones
Unused Subs: Reece Beckles, Giuseppe Sole, Andy Little
Goals: Scott Rendell 68 (pen), Jack Marriott 82
Forest Green Rovers: Sam Russell, Chris Stokes (Alhassan Bangura 76), Jamie Turley, James Norwood, Yan Klukowski, Danny Wright (Luke Rodgers 86), Aarron Racine (Eddie Oshodi 53), Paul Green, Luke Oliver, Lee Hughes, Bradley Jordan
Unused Subs: Matt Taylor, Paul White
Goal: Lee Hughes 63
Caution: Eddie Oshodi 67
The Cardsâ€™ next (and final) home league game on Easter Monday promises to be a cracker! Close neighbours and rivals Aldershot Town, desperately fighting against relegation, are the visitors. Donâ€™t forget that itâ€™s a 1pm kick-off. A big crowd is expected, so give yourself plenty of time to get to the match, which will be segregated. Gates will open at 10.30am and the Cardinals Bar will be open from 11.00am.
Come on, you Cards!