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Scouting Report: Notts County must look to cause panic in Forest Green Rovers defence


Notts County head to the New Lawn on Saturday to face Forest Green Rovers as they hope to remain in the top three of League Two.

The Magpies leapfrogged Wycombe Wanderers to move into the automatic promotion slots with a 1-1 draw at Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night.

FGR will prove a stern test, however, as they have won their last five games on home turf to move seven points clear of the relegation zone.

What are Forest Green's strengths, who are their key players, what kind of tactics will they use, and how should Notts counter them? Pride of Nottingham's Chris takes a look in this Scouting Report.

Head to head

Notts County and Forest Green Rovers have met just twice in competitive action and the Green Devils have not beaten the Magpies yet.

The first game came in the third round of the FA Cup on 19 January 2010, and it ended in a 2-1 win for the Magpies at Meadow Lane.

This season is the first that both teams share the same league, and the reverse fixture on 7 October - also at the Lane - ended 1-1 with Rob Milsom scoring an injury-time leveller.

Saturday's game marks the first time that the Magpies head to FGR's home, the New Lawn Stadium.

Run-down of their last six features

Wednesday 31st January – Exeter City 2 Forest Green Rovers 0

Saturday 3rd February – Forest Green Rovers 2 Coventry City 1

Tuesday 13th February – Forest Green Rovers 3 Stevenage 1

Saturday 17th February – Morecambe 1 Forest Green Rovers 1

Saturday 24th February – Forest Green Rovers 2 Crawley Town 0

Tuesday 6th March – Newport County 3 Forest Green Rovers 3

The Players – Fact Sheet

Highest Goal Scorers: Christian Doidge 21, Reuben Reid 3, Reece Brown 3 and Lee Collins 2.

Persistent Foulers: Dale Bennett 7 yellow cards and 1 red card, Charlie Cooper 6 yellow cards and 1 red card, Lee Collins 5 yellow cards

The Key Players

Christian Doidge is a powerhouse who has a natural threat on goal, his crisp and calm finishing is lethal within League Two and the striker is extremely confident with moving forward with the ball showing no fear to shoot from distance.

Reece Brown is also very influential in midfield, offering pace and skill when taking on the opposition players.

Style of Play, Strengths, and Weaknesses

Forest Green’s form has largely improved since we last met at Meadow Lane and so have their performances.

On the ball they look to get forward by moving the ball around well, whilst coming back at times when no more ground can be gained via attacking directly.

They also lump the ball quite a fair bit, especially when under pressure but are very content on the ball on the ground.

In defence, the Green Devils can be quite sloppy and despite retaining organisation at the back – they fail to remain alert to danger.

Opposition teams usually maximise their chances by the chaos caused by the FGR defence's panicking.

Games do remain quite open even when they seem strong in possession, as they invite too much pressure on themselves by disconnected play.

Their main threat is by their ability to work the ball well in tight areas, as they have several players capable of delivering useful balls, which teams tend to find difficult to attack – it’s clear that Forest Green practice within their training how to deliver balls against their counterparts.

For Notts our midfield will need to be patient and careful when building, they’ll have to work hard and present creative chances for any opportunities to fall our way.

Ensuring that the FGR defence are constantly troubled will create chances for the Magpies and set pieces seems something which we might be able to make use of.

Overall Kevin Nolan shouldn’t get players to commit too deep, yet there must be a finer balance within the centre of the park – as the team that controls the game via the middle will get on top of the game.

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Edited by Joe Jones

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