The Sky Bet League Two campaign continues for Salford City on Saturday when Forest Green Rovers visit The Peninsula Stadium.
Both sides have won one and drawn one to begin the league season, with the victories both coming away from home; Salford’s at Grimsby Town last weekend and Rovers’ at Bolton Wanderers on the opening day.
It comes as no surprise after last season when Mark Cooper’s side were the best team away from home, followed closely by The Ammies, and indeed that proved true as we won a game a-piece against each other in 2019-20; on each other’s turf.
After a consistent start last season Rovers were second heading into December, but a bad run of form saw them drop to mid-table and an eventual finishing place of 10th, nevertheless Graham Alexander is expecting them to provide another stern test on Saturday on the back of their start to 2020-21.
“They’ve been good, I think it is a tough opponent; they had a great result in the first game of the season, Bolton away; they had the joint highest wins with us last season, away from home, so they’ve obviously got a good away record going back a good stretch.
“We know their qualities, we had two tough games against them last year with us winning one each so we know what they’ve got, but we need to continue where we left off last week and the prep’s been pretty good this week.
“The lads have been very upbeat as they are in the main anyway, they’re a great group, really positive as well but obviously after last week’s result it’s an extra spring in their step.
“At the start of last season Forest Green were in unbelievable form and very expansive, they got an early goal against us and we didn’t really recover from it and it was a real tough game for us.
“Down there it was a different team for us, from our perspective, playing. We ended up with nine men somehow and still won the three points so two very different games, but it’s the same again, we’ve probably got half a new team from the last time we played them, I think they’ve made some additions as well, added a bit of physicality with Jamille Matt up front so we’re aware of the qualities they have and I’m sure they’re aware of the qualities we have.”
PENINSULA RETURN PAUSED
With the pandemic continuing across the country, it was announced earlier this week that the planned return for spectators will be paused, despite the successful trials of supporters at games last weekend.
The absence of supporters at games continues to be a noticeable element of match days, but the Gaffer is hopeful that a more normal reality can return if people are sensible.
“The announcement during the week, I’m sure everyone’s disappointed, I’m sure the Government’s disappointed about having to make the announcement, it’s not something that anyone’s purposefully doing to be the Grinch or the Scrooge and stop everyone from having fun and enjoying their sport; we’re in unprecedented times and people have to make decisions and take courses of action that are not the norm.
“I think we all, everyone connected with sport, not just football but sport, want the supporters and fans back, it’s what makes the games and sports exciting; the reaction, the emotion and responding to that from the crowd both home and away. You get a rapport and a relationship with the supporters that you want them to be a part of what you do every match day, so from our perspective it’s disappointing of course, there are bigger things at play at the moment with peoples’ health and wellbeing.
“I think that’s still got to take precedent over other things but ultimately if we can get through these episodes as quickly as possible and return to the norm then everyone wants that, but unfortunately we’re in times where we can’t do that and we have to make the best of what it is at the moment and that’s everybody; we have to take the precautions, common sense decisions to make sure we come out of it on the other side, everyone healthy, and the game in a healthy state.”
HOW TO WATCH
Saturday’s game is behind closed doors, but can be streamed in the UK and overseas*.
Season Ticket Holders can watch this game with the code provided as part of the 2020-21 Season Ticket package. If you haven’t purchased a Season Ticket for 2020-21 you can still apply by email, and all applications before 4th October will be eligible for a code to stream home league games.
Join Zarah Connolly and special guest Gareth Seddon from 14:30 for Match Day Live from the TalkTalk Studio, available to watch for free on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
*Prices and Terms & Conditions apply, please read carefully before purchasing match passes.