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He was a beautiful man- Duncan Ferguson on former mentor Sir Bobby Robson ahead of Forest Green’s trip to Ipswich Town

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Forest Green manager Duncan Ferguson hopes he has picked up some of his old boss Sir Bobby Robson’s traits ahead of Saturday’s trip to Ipswich Town.

The Gloucestershire side will be looking for their first win of 2023 when they travel to The Portman Road Stadium, which will pay tribute to former Town manager Robson as the game coincides with what would have been his 90th birthday. 

Robson led Ipswich to FA Cup and Uefa Cup titles, before Ferguson played under him from 1999-2000 at Newcastle United and the Scot hopes his former boss as well as Walter Smith and Howard Kendall have all had some influence over his managerial style.

“He was a beautiful man, a great guy to be around. He’s a legend of the game and anybody that came into contact with Bobby loved him,” said Ferguson.

“Walter was a beautiful gentleman, Howard Kendall was my mentor and hopefully I’ve picked up little bits from them all along the way.”

The visit to Suffolk will be an important one for Ferguson’s side, who are seven points from safety, having taken just one point from his first four league matches after Tuesday’s defeat to Charlton Athletic.

“We played really well on Tuesday night and pushed Charlton all the way. We dominated in the second-half but just couldn’t stick one in the net” said Ferguson.

“The players are keeping the faith because they’re playing well. We’re not conceding that many goals. We’re all positive because we’re putting the performances in and another day we could have picked up some more points.”

Ipswich currently sit in 4th place, but have struggled recently with three consecutive draws.

“We’re bottom of the league, we’re going in as underdogs in all of the games. Obviously Ipswich are a top team and they’re doing really well. They’re scoring a lot of goals, keeping a lot of possession and they’re aggressive in the press but we feel we’re a match for anybody at the moment” said Ferguson.

“They’re on a bit of a sticky run and hopefully we’ll give a good account of ourselves but they’ll have 25,000 fans behind them.”

Ferguson has said he may hand a first start to 19-year-old Charlie Savage, who gave a strong performance in his debut off the bench during Tuesday’s loss to Charlton.

“I was really pleased with him, he came on and gave us good energy. He understood the instructions we gave him. He’s a Manchester United boy and you need to be technically good to be there.”

“He’s enthusiastic and gets around the pitch, just like his dad. It’s a privilege to have him here. He’s certainly pushed himself right to the front (of contention to start on Saturday)”.

Elsewhere, minor injuries will force the manager to make changes from midweek.

“We’ve got one or two knocks and one struggling with illness but hopefully most of them will be available” said Ferguson.

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