By Harry Bamforth
Ebullient Forest Green boss Rob Edwards insists his side must blow away the cobwebs of inactivity when they go toe-to-toe with Paul Tisdale’s Stevenage at the Fully Charged New Lawn on New Year’s Day.
Rovers haven’t played a league fixture since December 11 following a Covid-19 outbreak which has forced the postponement of their last four games.
Sporting a heavy cold, Edwards expects the league leaders to hit the ground running despite up to four players absent due to Covid.
He revealed: “We’ve had a couple of outbreaks. We had the initial six or seven (who tested positive) which called the first two games off. We then had that circuit-breaker where we shut everything down for four or five days, and when we came back in, we had another five cases. So we’ve had around 12 or 13 cases. This week, we had one (positive case) on Monday and one on Tuesday, so we’re going to be without three or four going into Saturday’s game.”
On their return to action, Edwards wants Rovers to hit the ground running: “We need to make sure that we’re running, that we bring our energy, sprint when we don’t have the ball, sprint forward when we do have the ball. Our body language has to be right, we have to encourage people and we need the fans to do that as well for us. We want loads of energy on January 1.”
Stevenage are looking for their first win under new boss Tisdale and were buoyed by a point at Swindon Town on Tuesday night – a game watched from the stands by Edwards and assistant Richie Kyle.
Edwards expects Stevenage to be a different animal to the side Rovers blew away 4-0 in September.
He said: “They look more resilient, they look hard to beat, you can see it has been his focus to get them really organised.
“There was a discipline about them against Swindon and that was impressive, but they remain a threat, they’ve got that threat on the counterattack in particular.”
The two sides have faced each other a number of times with Rovers coming out on top in the EFL, winning five and drawing three, whilst Boro have come out victorious just the once.