EFL Sky Bet League Two – The Hive London – Saturday 7th April 2018 – KO 15:00pm
Last Time We Met:
Barnet became Forest Green’s first ever opponents in the Football League when these two sides last met.
The Bees travelled to The New Lawn on the opening day of the season, coming back from 2-0 down to take a point back to North London.
The hosts took a two-goal advantage into half-time after striker Christian Doidge bagged a brace in the final four minutes of the first period.
However, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro pulled one back for the Bees 13 minutes into the second half before Jamal Campbell-Ryce completed the come-back just after the hour mark.
Barnet did end proceedings with 10 men after Jack Taylor picked up a second booking deep into stoppage time.
Mark Cooper took charge of Forest Green at the back end of the 2015-16 season, just before their National League play-off final defeat to Grimsby Town.
Although the 49-year-old wasn’t in charge for that game, he was at the helm in the Wembley dug-out a year later, guiding Rovers to their first ever promotion to the Football League, beating Tranmere 3-1.
Cooper began his playing career in the youth set-up at Bristol City before making appearances for 16 different clubs, including Exeter City, Tamworth, Hartlepool and the club he now manages, Forest Green.
His first stab at a managerial career came at former club Tamworth where he was appointed player/assistant manager and player/manager respectively.
Cooper managed at eight clubs before taking charge at Forest Green, including Swindon Town, Peterborough United and Notts County.
Christian Doidge scored a brace in our previous meeting with Forest Green. The Welshman arrived at the New Lawn in the summer of 2016 after winning player of the year and supporters’ player of the year at Dagenham & Redbridge.
Doidge maintained his form during his debut season in Nailsworth, scoring 25 goals, the second highest in the league.
He also wrote his name on the score sheet in last season’s play-off final victory against Tranmere Rovers, helping his side clinch promotion to England’s fourth division.
Doidge has continued to pose a threat in the final third for Forest Green this season too, scoring 16 goals in the league whilst accumulating five assists.
The striker appeared from the bench last weekend after an ankle injury kept him out for four games.
However, Doidge will be hoping to regain his starting spot this time around and add to the two goals he already has against the Bees this season.
Bees goalkeeper Jamie Stephens began his playing career in Gloucestershire, starting out in the Forest Green youth set-up before moving on to Swindon Town.
Charlie Clough spent two years at Forest Green, making over 80 appearances and finding the net seven times before moving to the Hive during last season’s January transfer window.
Last Time Out:
Forest Green will arrive in North London this weekend off the back of a 2-1 home defeat to Colchester United.
It only took 16 seconds for the visitors to break the dead-lock after a Sammie Szmodic’s cross was converted in by Drey Wright from close-range.
Mark Cooper’s men drew level eight minutes before the break when Haydn Hollis was brought down in the box and Reuben Reid made no mistake from the resulting spot-kick.
However, it was the U’s who came out on top when Ben Stevenson nestled the bottom corner in the opening stages of the second half to score what proved to be the winner.
The result moved Colchester up to 10th whilst Forest Green stayed 21st, six points above the drop.
Forest Green side: Collins, Bennett, Hollis, Gunning, Wishart, Bray (Laird), Collins (Brown), Osbourne, Grubb, Reid, Campbell (Doidge)
Unused Subs: Belford (GK), Simpson, Cooper, Rawson.
Our £10 South Terrace ticket offer continues for this game, as does Kid a Quid anywhere in the stadium!
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