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Stat Attack: Notts County vs. Forest Green Rovers, Saturday 7 October 2017


Joe Jones

Notts County and Forest Green have literally only met the once, 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.

Stephen Hunt opened the scoring for the hosts in the 50th minute and, although Isaiah Rankin drew level on 63 minutes, Lee Hughes grabbed the winner one minute later.

Tomorrow thus marks the first ever league meeting between the two.

Forest Green Rovers were founded in October 1889 by Reverend E. J. H. Peach, the local Nonconformist church minister, representing the Forest Green area of Nailsworth in Gloucestershire.

The name Rovers was adopted in 1893, and the following year the club were founder members of the Mid-Gloucestershire League, the first association football league in the county outside Bristol.

After the league folded in 1902, Forest Green become members of the newly formed Stroud League and also members of the Dursley and District League which they won in 1903, the club's first silverware.

After a break for the First World War, Rovers enjoyed a period of great success winning two football leagues and three cups in both 1921 and 1922.

They then joined the newly formed Gloucestershire Northern Senior League with Cheltenham Town among others in 1922.

Rovers joined the newly formed County League in 1968 and played under manager Peter Goring for the next 11 years, moving up again to the Hellenic League in 1975 under his stewardship.

In 1982, Rovers achieved fame at Wembley winning the FA Vase 3-1 and at the same time winning the Hellenic League and moving into the Southern League Midland Division.

Seven years later a struggling Rovers outfit was renamed Stroud FC but this alienated a lot of people connected with the club, until the arrival of Trevor Horsley in 1992 saw the name changed back to Forest Green Rovers.

After finishing eighth in the Southern Division under Frank Gregan in 1995–96, they won the division the following season, earning promotion to the Premier Division of the Southern League.

The 1997–98 season then saw FGR them win the Southern League Premier Division, securing a second successive promotion and entry to the Football Conference.

FGR finished in the relegation zone in 2005 and 2010, but both times were handed a reprieve when Northwich Victoria and then Salisbury City were demoted for non-footballing reasons.

The club was then taken over by Ecotricity owner Dale Vince, at which point the team improved until finally sealing promotion into the Football League last season.

Notts legend Lee Hughes spent the 2014-15 season at Forest Green, scoring 15 goals in 42 games. At present, ex-Magpies midfielder Liam Noble, ex-loanee Drissa Traore  and former manager Mark Cooper ply their trade there.

Team news

Shola Ameobi is back in contention for Notts County after his return in the defeat at Mansfield Town.

The veteran striker had been sidelined for three weeks with a hamstring injury but played 20 minutes of the 3-1 loss at Field Mill.

Dan Jones is still struggling with a hamstring injury having missed the Magpies' last two games.

Aside from the defender, boss Kevin Nolan now has a fully-fit squad as they top League Two on goal difference.

Forest Green boss Mark Cooper has no new injury or suspension worries following his side's midweek EFL Trophy win against local rivals Cheltenham.

Defender Manny Monthe remains sidelined after fracturing a cheekbone in training last week and midfielder Liam Noble is also unavailable due to "a medical matter".

Cooper made just two changes on Tuesday night as defender Lee Collins and striker Omar Bugiel missed out and both players could return to the starting line-up.

Bugiel turned down an international call-up from Lebanon to stay and play for his club instead of his country's Asian Cup qualifier against North Korea in Beirut on October 10.

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