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With Christmas fast approaching and run of 4 games in just 10 days, seasons can almost be defined for the second half with 12 points on offer.
For those at the bottom it’s crucial not to be cast adrift by the time the transfer window re-opens on 1st January, not that you would expect sides to win all 4 games, but League Two has seen the form book upset quite often this year.
Down in Gloucestershire, Mark Cooper is struggling to keep Forest Green Rovers away from the relegation trap door. Whilst most around them have changed managers or coaches since the season began, Dale Vince has kept faith with Cooper, the man who led Rovers into the Football League for the first time in the summer.
It’s fair to say the smallest club with one of the smallest support bases in the division have found the step up difficult and have been in or around the bottom two for the majority of the season, unable to string together a good set of results to get some momentum going.
Granted there are only 4 points separating Rovers in 24th and Crawley Town in 17th, but their goal difference is by far the worst in the division due to some early season thrashings not helping.
The Christmas fixtures are not in Rovers favour, two tough looking away games at Exeter and Lincoln plus a home game against play-off chasing Wycombe Wanderers are preceded by Carlisle visiting the New Lawn and to ensure they’re not left behind, beating the Cumbrians is almost a must.
Rovers haven’t picked up a league point since the end of November making it a bleak winter time so far, but with those around them also not making the headlines, they remain in touch with everyone else and a good return over Christmas and New Year can bring some optimism to club that’s used to winning games.
Cooper is expecting offers to be made for top scorer Christian Doidge in the window, but Rovers really need to strengthen hard to ensure this isn’t a one season stay in football’s lowest tier.
Losing Doidge would almost certainly start putting the nails in a relegation coffin unless the transfer fee is invested wisely.
But replacing goalscorers is never easy and with a Football League future at stake, you would expect Vince to repel any bids for their star marksman, provide Cooper with some funds to improve his squad and get the points needed to ensure Rovers aren’t making a swift return to the National League, it may take a while to return if that happens.
Written by Trevor Knell
Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37
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