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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Exiles welcome promotion-chasing Forest Green Rovers

19 February 2021

Rodney Parade again plays host to Sky Bet League Two action this weekend, with Newport County AFC taking on Forest Green Rovers on Sunday afternoon.

County will be hoping to kickstart some form after the draw with Exeter City, but will face a difficult challenge against the side currently in second place in the Sky Bet League Two table.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this Sky Bet League Two fixture...

The opposition - Forest Green Rovers

Forest Green Rovers currently occupy second spot in the table with 48 points from 27 matches. Rovers have won 13 of their games, drawn nine times and lost on five occasions.

Forest Green started the season six matches unbeaten, defeating Bolton, Scunthorpe and Stevenage before finally succumbing to a loss against Colchester. They then won four of their next seven fixtures.

Rovers head into Sunday’s match off the back of three wins and a draw, including a victory in a seven-goal thriller against Oldham Athletic on Tuesday, which put them just one point off the top of the table.

Team news

Liam Shephard could be in line to return to the squad after his three-match suspension, but Scot Bennett will miss out as he serves the final game of his ban.

Rovers have a fully fit squad at their disposal, meaning County could face reunions with several familiar faces. Aaron Collins, Jamille Matt and Shawn McCoulsky are all in contention to return to Rodney Parade.

One to watch – Jamille Matt

A very well-known figure to the County faithful, Jamille Matt is Forest Green’s top scorer so far this season with 10 goals in 26 appearances, including a hat-trick away to Scunthorpe United earlier in the campaign.

The Jamaican forward signed for Rovers from County in the summer after two seasons at Rodney Parade. During his time with County, the 31-year-old scored the first goal in the Exiles' famous 2-1 Emirates FA Cup victory over Leicester City, and was also an integral part of the squad that reached the Sky League Two play-off final in 2019.

Manager – Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper has been in charge at Forest Green since 2016, when he joined before the National League play-off final. He oversaw the match in an advisory role, with Rovers coming up just short.

In Cooper’s first full season in charge, Rovers returned to Wembley for the play-off final and overcame Tranmere Rovers to reach Sky Bet League Two. Cooper and the Gloucestershire side are now pushing for another promotion to Sky Bet League One.

Prior to Forest Green, the 51-year-old held several management jobs, including stints at Peterborough, Swindon and Notts County.

Last meeting between the sides

The last time the sides met was at the beginning of December at the New Lawn, where County and Rovers played out a 1-1 draw.

The Exiles went into half-time with the lead after a Tristan Abrahams penalty in injury time.

Forest Green eventually equalised with 15 minutes to go through ex-Newport striker Jamille Matt. Both sides pushed for a winner, however, the scores finished level, meaning County left Gloucestershire with a point.


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