County’s U18 side travel to Forest Green Rovers this Saturday for their second competitive fixture of 2018, where Byron Anthony’s side will be looking to build on a 1-1 draw against Yeovil Town on January 6th.
We preview Forest Green Rovers’ last five matches, previous fixtures between the two sides and a lowdown on the backroom staff ahead of our vital fixture against Chris Barker’s side.
The Young Exiles’ most recent fixture against Forest Green Rovers was in early August. Byron Anthony’s side fell to a narrow defeat at Lliswerry School in their second league match of the 17/18 season. County ‘keeper Matt Mayor made a save in the 16th minute, but soon enough Jordan Stevens opened the scoring for Chris Barker’s side.
Tom Hillman grabbed an equalizer, but it wasn’t enough as Stevens slotted home from 12 yards-out past Mayor, resulting in a 2-1 loss for County.
This will be the Young Exiles first trip to Forest Green Rovers. After Mark Cooper’s side gained promotion to League Two, the U18 side were entered in the EFL Youth Alliance League for the 17/18 campaign.
Scott Bartlett is currently the Academy Manager at Forest Green Rovers, having previously combined his role with coaching duties Weston-Super-Mare as first team manager. Bartlett stepped down from his position at the Seagulls after Forest Green’s academy were entered into the EFL Youth Alliance. He previously played as a defender, with his previous clubs including Forest Green Rovers, Salisbury City and Bath City before he retired in 2011, aged 32.
Rovers’ U18s are managed by Chris Barker, who joined the club last summer. Barker is an ex-professional footballer who played for clubs including Cardiff, Stoke, QPR, Southend United and Plymouth Argyle. The U18s manager previously worked under Scott Bartlett at Weston-Super-Mare in the 2016/17 season, acting as assistant coach at the club.
Finally, Megan Hodun and Vicky French joined the Gloucester-based side in the summer as Academy Physio and Head of Education respectively.
Last Five Fixtures
Forest Green Rovers have endured a tough run of form since October, with Chris Barker’s side picking up one point out of a possible fifteen. They currently sit one point behind the Young Exiles, and County’s U18 side will move four points clear of Forest Green Rovers on Saturday, should they win.
Rovers’ last home match was a 1-1 draw against Plymouth Argyle, but a huge 6-1 loss against Oxford United was their heaviest defeat of their last five matches – which bodes well for Byron Anthony’s side.
The Gloucestershire-based side have really struggled away from home too, with defeats against Bournemouth, Yeovil and most recently Swindon rounding off a disappointing few months for Barker’s side.
Ahead of Saturday’s match, Academy Manager Byron Anthony said: “This weekend will be another great opportunity for our U16 players to step up to U18 level, taking the place of the second-year scholars who are currently out on loan.
“The experience that will be gained from the match for some of our U16’s will be massive for their development as a player.”
The match will take place at the Royal Agricultural University, with the game kicking off at 11:00 AM in Cirencester.
The full address for the venue is as follows: Royal Agricultural University, Stroud Road, Cirencester, GL7 6JS.
You can follow match updates on the official academy Twitter @Youth_County, which will provide you with live updates from Gloustershire as the Young Exiles look to pick-up their first win of 2018 against Forest Green Rovers.
Good Luck, Boys!