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Forest Green Rovers v Dartford

 

Dartford face a tough tie on Saturday when they travel to The New Lawn to play Forest Green Rovers in the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round.

The Darts last faced the Gloucestershire club when their opponents were on the rise to the Conference Premier. Fifteen years ago the two sides competed against each other for the first time in the Southern League South Division. Dartford held the eventual champions 0-0 home and away and so this fixture is yet to feature a goal.

That season was Dartford’s first back in the Southern League having earned promotion by taking the runners up spot the year before in the Kent League. Rovers went on to win the Southern Premier division in their next campaign and promotion to the Conference, where they have stayed since 1998. Currently the longest serving club in this years Conference Premier, Forest Green Rovers are arguably the toughest draw in the F.A Cup fourth qualifying round.

Dartford will be glad to have had a week to recover from the long journey to the north west coast to play Barrow. The well earned point was just what the side needed following their 4-1 home defeat versus AFC Telford United. Despite one point from the last six Dartford were the in form side leading up to the last couple of league games and occupy a respectable sixth place.

Tony Burman spoke to BBC Radio Kent after the 0-0 draw with Barrow, he said: “I’m pleased we got something out of the game, it’s a difficult place to come and a very long way to come”, he added: “First half we were okay but didn’t trouble Barrow too much. We had to grind out a result and that’s what we did”.

Forest Green Rovers are looking upwards and are currently making a bid to reach the football league. Since September they have not been outside the top three, until Saturday’s defeat away at Mansfield Town. A last minute winner from Mansfield Town’s Matt Rhead separated the two sides. For the first time in two years Rovers have lost three consecutive matches to drop from second to fifth. Last weekends reverse followed loses at home to Tamworth and away against promotion rivals Wrexham.

Rovers had a host of players who were selected to represent England C against Albania this week, unfortunately the friendly was cancelled. Ever present defender Jamie Turley and his defensive partner Eddie Oshodi made the squad as well as midfielder Kieron Forbes and top scorer Matthew Taylor.

Manager David Hockaday realises the Darts will prove to be a stern test in reaching the first round, he said: “Dartford at home will not be an easy game: they have been playing well and so have we – so it should be an entertaining encounter”, he added: “We could have had an easier draw but we could have had a harder one as well – we could have drawn Dartford away. Being at home is a bonus”.

The Darts have only reached the F.A Cup first round once in the last 22 years when they took League Two’s Port Vale to a replay just two years ago.

Team News

Dartford’s injury list has threatened to increase this week with midfielder’s Tom Champion and Elliot Bradbrook being left at home from the trip to Barrow. Danny Harris couldn’t complete the 90 minutes on Saturday after picking up an injury and Adam Green has not featured since Dartford’s first win of the season. Marcus Bettenelli returns to Fulham to be replaced by the now fit Louis Wells.

Forest Green Rovers look like they will be without midfielder Jamie Collins who suffered a knee injury. The 28 year old missed his first league match of the season against Mansfield Town on Saturday. Former Watford midfielder Al Bangura hobbled off against Wrexham and missed Tuesday night’s home game against Tamworth. However, the one time Sierra Leone international is expected to be back soon.

Current Form

Forest Green Rovers (LLLWWW) Dartford (DLWWWW)
Mansfield Town A 0-1 Barrow A 0-0
Tamworth H 1-2 AFC Telford United H 1-4
Wrexham A 1-2 Grimsby Town A 2-0
Lincoln City H 3-0 Hyde H 2-1
Hereford United A 2-1 Braintree Town A 2-0
Macclesfield Town A 2-1 Wrexham A 2-2

Dartford are unbeaten in four away matches going 318 minutes without conceding a goal.

Forest Green Rovers suffered their first defeat at The New Lawn this season against Tamworth after a six game unbeaten run at home.

F.A Cup Performances (2001-2012)


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