City’s hard-fought 1-0 win over fellow early pace-setters Newport ensured Paul Tisdale’s side ended August atop the table going into a busy September that begins with successive away trips. The signing spree on deadline day added to good news on the injured players front means Tisdale has a major selection headache. Furthermore the highly-rated loanee Kane Wilson is available having returned from England U18 duty, so Tisdale really does have an embarrassment of riches to choose from. Jayden Stockley played in the midweek Premier League Cup win at Dagenham as he reintegrates following his club record transfer from Aberdeen, while Kyle Edwards caught the eye too in that fixture, and Hiram Boateng also played as he seeks to put pressure on the likes of Jordan Tillson and Lloyd James for a starting berth.
A club that has attracted probably more headlines off the pitch than on it, Forest Green finally achieved their ambition of playing in the Football League this season following victory over Tranmere in the National League playoff final. Owner Dale Vince has invested heavily in the club (running up 8-figure losses in the process), combining huge squad investment with off-field activities in making the club more eco-friendly and 100% vegan. The side at the top of the hill (second only to West Brom as the highest altitude club in the 92) hasn’t enjoyed the best of starts, however, and former City player Mark Cooper knows he will need to oversee an improvement in fortunes over the course of the season. Home form hasn’t been so bad, with a win over Yeovil and a draw against Barnet, as well as a win over Newport in the EFL Trophy and an extra-time defeat to League One MK Dons in the EFL Cup. The main problem appears to be in defence, with just one clean sheet (in that win over Newport) this season. The main player to look out for will be Liam Noble, the subject of a bitter transfer fight with his former club Notts County during the summer, while former Dagenham & Redbridge striker Christian Doidge has been deadly in front of goal with four strikes to his name so far.
City and Rovers were regular foes during City’s non-league wilderness years, and therefore the last meetings took place in City’s 07/08 promotion season. Both matches were drawn – the corresponding fixture in January 2008 saw Wayne Carlisle’s strike cancelled out by Darren Jones, while the match at the Park back in September 2007 finished 3-3 – City were 2-0 up through Richard Logan and Jamie Mackie, Forest Green pulled it back to 2-2 through future City striker Stuart Fleetwood and Lee Dodgson. Logan restored City’s lead only for Fleetwood to earn the visitors a point in stoppage time. City have the league head to head lead with four wins to Forest Green’s one, five matches finishing level. The details on all our encounters can be found here.
The match officials are:-
Referee: Robert Lewis
Assistant Referees: Alix Pashley and Ben Cobb
Fourth Official: Mark Russell
Rob Lewis has refereed Exeter seven times, the most recent being the 3-0 win over Colchester at the Park in January of this year. Details of his games at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=rob+lewis