Tomorrow evening sees the first of two long away trips as we head to 2nd-placed Forest Green Rovers which was re-arranged from last month. A win for either side taking them top of the league going into the FA Cup break at the weekend.
So far this season, they have beaten Oldham Athletic, Grimsby Town, Bradford City, Cambridge United, Colchester United, Salford City, Crawley Town, Morecambe, Cheltenham Town and Leyton Orient, they have drawn with Walsall, Carlisle United, Stevenage and Mansfield Town while they have lost to Port Vale, Newport County, Exeter City and Plymouth Argyle.
In the cups, they beat Charlton Athletic on penalties before losing to Bournemouth via the same method in the EFL Cup whilst they host Carlisle United in the FA Cup on Saturday after knocking out Billericay Town in Round 1. In the EFL Trophy, they finished in third in their group despite winning against Southampton’s Under-21 side and Coventry City (on pens) but were hammered by Walsall in the final group game where a point would have been enough to see them through.
Over the summer, Forest Green have signed 14 players over the summer, 10 of which are permanent signings and 4 season-long loans while letting 14 leave the club permanently. Arriving at the club are goalkeepers Adam Smith and Joe Wollacott (loan), defenders Matt Mills, Liam Kitching and Dominic Bernard, midfielders Ebou Adams, Kevin Dawson, Elliott Frear, James Morton and Kyle Taylor (the last 2 on loan) and forwards Taylor Allen, Aaron Collins, Mathew Stevens and loanee Jack Aitchison.
Looking back in the archives, the two teams have met 4 times with both teams winning in each home game. Last season’s games saw Forest Green win the corresponding fixture by a Joe Mills goal without reply before a Charlie Kirk-inspired performance saw the Alex win 4-3.
Who are the officials for the game?
The officials for this game see Charles Breakspear as the man in the middle where he is assisted by John Flynn and Grant Taylor with Kevin Howick being the fourth official. Here are the Crewe games that have been refereed by Breakspear in the previous 5 years:
- Crewe Alexandra 1-1 Doncaster Rovers (29th November 2014) – Ikpeazu
- Crewe Alexandra 1-5 Peterborough United (21st November 2015) – Colclough
- Crewe Alexandra 1-0 Morecambe (21st April 2018) – Miller
- Cambridge United 0-0 Crewe Alexandra (12th March 2019)
I asked Forest Green supporter Laurie Martin for his thoughts going into the game.
How would you describe your transfer activity this summer?
Very good. Our transfer policy is clear to see – buy young players with a point to prove with the view to selling them on for much more than we signed them for. Liam Kitching and Ebou Adams have performed very well for us and will probably be playing at a much higher level within a couple of seasons. Bringing in Jack Aitchison from Celtic on deadline day was also a real coup for us.
Which position is the one that you should improve the most from the squad you currently have?
Honestly at this stage – none. The fact we’ve kept the most clean sheets in the league emphasises how solid our backline is, and over the last 5/6 games, our front three have really begun to click.
What do you think the team will be for the game?
Wollacott, Bernard, Rawson, Kitching, J.Mills, Winchester, Adams, Shephard, Collins, Aitchison, Stevens (4-2-3-1)
How would you set-up to nullify your team?
Press high up the pitch from minute one. Our defenders’ distribution is good in the most part, but they are young and error-prone, and when we’re forced to play long we are ineffective.
Who is the danger man for this game?
Ebou Adams. He’s a powerful midfielder whose driving runs from midfield create many of our attacks. He’s incredibly loose-limbed which means it’s difficult to take the ball off him, but he’s equally as good at winning the ball back.
What do you think is a realistic aim for Forest Green this season?
Automatic promotion is definitely the aim but it’s still early days. Our squad is young and more teams will push on towards the second half of the season. I’d take a play-off place if you offered me one now.