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Frank Talk: Inconsistency will help Forest Green survive in League One

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Managers and coaches can be heard talking all the time about consistency.

It’s a trait that every club strives for but you have to wonder why. Probably the greatest attribute that Forest Green are showing at the moment is the complete opposite – inconsistency. They have just had what could have been an absolute belting week had they not been denied by two late goals at Vale Park on Saturday. 

 Starting the week, even the most optimistic Rovers supporter must have thought ‘this is going to be a tough gig.’ First they had to entertain one of the biggest clubs in the division, Bolton and then make the difficult trip to high-flying Peterborough before staying on the road for a tough encounter at Port Vale.

“If Rovers can keep bucking the trend and picking up points where they are not expected to they’ll be safe when it matters”

Frank Gregan

Seriously, how many points were they expected to pick up from that sequence? I think most of the Rovers faithful would have been happy with a three-point return. They very nearly secured six which would have been superb.

The key to their successful week was their inconsistency. A consistent side in the relegation zone would have been lucky to pick up a point. Consistency works both ways, you can be consistently good or consistently bad. Of course, everyone hopes to achieve the former but if that’s not going to be the case (and it’s highly unlikely to be in what is going to be one of the toughest seasons in the club’s history) then they have to make sure that they pick up unexpected results. The Bolton case was a classic example.

In a regular column, iconic former Forest Green manager Frank Gregan has teamed up with Stroud Times to look back on his time at the New Lawn.

Now living in Spain and a published author, the former sergeant major joined Rovers in 1994 – leading his side to back-to-back promotions and Wembley final. Frank transformed the club from non-league minnows, charting the way for what they have gone onto achieve under the late Trevor Horsley’s successor Dale Vince.

Follow Frank on Twitter: @Greegers
Home | Frank Gregan Books (wixsite.com)

There’s no doubt the Bolton result would have given the lads a huge confidence boost for their trip to Peterborough but after having started quite brightly Mr Inconsistency kicked in to ensure a 4-1 defeat. No harm, no foul. Three points in the bag from two very difficult games. What probably hurt everybody connected with the club more was losing the two-goal lead at Port Vale late in the game and dropping two precious points. That is a right kick where you really don’t want to be kicked and is a horrible feeling. I’ve got the t-shirt. One of my teams was leading 2-0 away from home when the board went up showing eight minutes injury time. We conceded in the 97th minute and then again straight from the kick-off. Ouch doesn’t do it justice!

Back in the day, there was much more local TV coverage of Forest Green. The local ITV station had a midweek half-hour football show in which one of the managers in the area was invited on to discuss his clubs’ fortunes. I remember it being a real doom and gloom presentation about our position in the relegation zone so much so that I had to say, “hang on a sec, nobody gets relegated in November’ which is when we were recording.

I think that’s a point worth bearing in mind. It’s been a really tough start in a really tough league but if Rovers can keep bucking the trend and picking up points where they are not expected to they’ll be safe when it matters, at the end of the season. Inconsistency will help them achieve that.

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