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Match Previews

Forest Green Rovers (A)

9 March 2018

Notts County travel to Forest Green Rovers looking to retain their spot in the Sky Bet League Two automatic promotion places.

The Magpies leapfrogged Wycombe to move into the top three with a 1-1 draw at Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night and make another trip to Gloucestershire looking to move clear of the chasing pack, which consists of Wycombe, Mansfield, Exeter and Swindon.

With their last win away from home coming on Boxing Day, County chief Kevin Nolan knows he must find a cure for Notts' travel woes if they are to have any hopes of maintaining their place in the top three.

The hosts, meanwhile, have enjoyed a rich vein of form on their own turf, winning their past five games at The New Lawn which has helped them to move seven points clear of the relegation zone.

They look set to retain their EFL status in their first season at this level after winning promotion from the National League in 2016-17 and will be sure to give Notts another stern test of their promotion credentials.

Notts boss Kevin Nolan says...

"Forest Green have been fantastic at home since the turn of the year and can beat anyone on their day.

"We're well aware that we have to go there, respect them and earn a result.

"They are a strong side and play good football with two fantastic strikers in Christian Doidge and Reuben Reid so it won't be an easy one."

Click here for more from the manager.

Forest Green Rovers manager Mark Cooper says...

They've got two focal points up front in Jon Stead and Shola Ameobi who both are and have been tremendous centre forwards.

"If you've got those two players in your team then you need to use them and Notts County certainly do., They've scored an awful lot of goals from crosses and play to their strengths and we're going to have to be really on our guard.

"It's a lovely club, good people, big fan base, brilliant stadium but it all comes down to 11 v 11 on the pitch on Saturday and that's how coldly and calmly you have got to look at it."

Team news

Goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons will miss the trip as he goes through the protocol for a head injury following his road traffic accident on Monday morning.

Nolan has an otherwise fully-fit squad to choose from, with captain Michael O'Connor participating in a behind-closed-doors friendly to continue his comeback from the serious knee injury sustained last April earlier in the week.

Former Notts defender Haydn Hollis could line-up for Forest Green after moving to The New Lawn in January.

However, top goalscorer Christian Doidge limped out of Tuesday's 3-3 draw at Newport and will be monitored in the build-up to the game.


A former basketball player who represented Wales in the European Championships after his release from Bristol Rovers at the age of 15, Doidge must be glad he returned to football.

The striker, a free transfer from Dagenham and Redbridge in the summer of 2016, found a hitherto unknown scoring prowess for Forest Green, bagging 27 goals in 43 league outings - including one in the play-off final at Wembley - to fire Rovers to promotion.

He has continued his fine form in this campaign, averaging a goal every other game with 21 in 42 appearances and sits third in the Sky Bet League Two top goalscorers list.

We've met before...

This will be just the third meeting between the sides and Notts' first visit to The New Lawn.

Both previous matches came at Meadow Lane with the Magpies winning a third-round tie in the FA Cup in January 2010.thanks to goals from Stephen Hunt and Lee Hughes.

The last meeting saw Rob Milsom's last-minute equaliser snatch a point for Notts after Omar Bugiel opened the scoring for the visitors.

What are the odds?

Sky Bet have priced Notts up as 13/10 odds-against favourites to come away from the LCI Rail Stadium while the hosts are 2/1 to emerge victorious with the draw available at 23/10.

Notts' last win on the road was a 4-1 success at Morecambe on Boxing Day and another victory by the same scoreline is a huge 50/1 this weekend.

The Magpies winning 3-2 is 28/1, while a narrow 1-0 success can be backed at odds of 7/1.

Jorge Grant's goal against Stevenage a fortnight ago took him to within two goals of 20 for the season. The midfielder is 8/1 to score a brace on Saturday to hit that milestone.

Meanwhile, Liam Noble is 9/1 to be the first name on the scoresheet against his former club and Terry Hawkridge is 12/1 to open the scoring, as he did on Tuesday night at Cheltenham Town.

Notts are 7/2 to win the game with both teams scoring or 3/1 to win the game to-nil.

You can bet on the game here.

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