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📺 Freeview | Pre Forest Green Press Conference

Russell Slade talks to the press ahead of the visit of Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.

7 December 2017

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Grimsby Town boss Russell Slade says the Mariners face a tough test when an improving Forest Green Rovers side visit Blundell Park in Sky Bet League Two on Saturday (3pm).

Town, who are 12th-placed, are looking to make it three EFL wins on the bounce for the first time since January, 2008, while Mark Cooper’s men, who are 20th in the league, have suffered just one defeat in their last seven league games.

Slade said: “That would be an indication of the improvement, a barrier to achieve. It would be great to be able to do that, it’s the sort of form that you need to be hitting from time to time in the season, because that can get you where you need to be.

“We’re at home, which I think is good, and it’s not going to be easy because Forest Green are in great form – they’re top-six form at the minute.

“They’ve picked up incredibly well over recent weeks, so we know it’s going to be a tough game.

“Christian Doidge has done well for them up-front. He’s scored 15 goals now, so they’ve got a very capable target-man, who seems to have got some crucial goals for them in recent weeks.

“And that’s got them away from the bottom of the table, and got them through one or two cup games as well.

“They are quite different in what they do. Sometimes, they leave three up from a corner, but they have conceded a lot of goals from set plays as well so they’re very vulnerable from those situations.

“Mark (Cooper) has been trying all sorts of different tactics from that point of view. We expect them to be three at the back when they come to us – maybe four in midfield, or maybe five and two up-front.

“But he’s changed that around a little bit from time to time, so they’re a little bit unpredictable in what they may play.”

Slade also dismissed any rumours linking forward Siriki Dembele with a move away from Blundell Park, but said he’s happy that he’s getting recognition for his performances, which have seen him score four league goals this season.

He said: “Just speculation. He’s not a player that we want to lose anyway.

“You’re going to get speculation all the way through. He’s done tremendously well, he’s been EFL Young Player of the Month in October.

“He’s caught people’s eye – there’s no doubt about that and, at this moment in time, he’ll be attracting a lot of scouts and a lot of attention

“And that’s good for the football club that we’ve got a player of that calibre, who’s attracting that sort of attention.

“He’s a good kid, and his focus and concentration will be on Saturday.”

The Town boss said Saturday’s GTFC Unity Day will be a good opportunity to continue building a platform for success at the club.

“It’s great. It is about unity – it is about being together. You’ve got to be together. I’ve not known anything be successful if you’re not together – that’s the fans, the staff, the club, everybody pulling in the same direction.

“We just need everybody behind us – we need to pull together because if we can pull off the win on Saturday then we’re going to be in touching distance.”

The gaffer revealed that James Berrett has completed both training sessions this week and is hopeful the midfielder will be available for Saturday, and he said that there are no fresh injuries in the squad.

Slade also said that he hasn’t had any trialists in over the last week, but Corie Andrews returned back to training with the squad today following a slight injury.

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