Forest Green: Reece Styche nearing Rovers return
BELEAGUERED Forest Green manager Dave Hockaday has received a welcome dose of good news from the treatment room.
Hockaday is facing mounting criticism from Rovers fans after seeing his side lose six of their last seven Skrill Premier matches, but he will soon be able to call upon striker Reece Styche for the first time in eight months.
Tomorrow's daunting away clash at Grimsby Town has come too soon for the 24-year-old, who ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last season and had been expected to be sidelined until Christmas.
But he was given a run-out in a practice match on Monday and could even feature in Rovers' FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against Bishop's Stortford in eight days' time.
Traditional Shave, Facial Treatment, Whisky and a Shoe Shine -...View details
Gents, enjoy a traditional shave, facial treatment, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £31
Terms: Early and later appointments available upon request.
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
Hockaday said: "Reece is way ahead of schedule and he will be like a new signing for us when he comes back.
"We will obviously tread very carefully, and Reece is the sort of lad who always wants to play and sometimes has to be held back. But he's not too far away."
Hockaday has been virtually the sole target of fans' anger during Rovers' sorry recent run, which has seen them plummet to within four points of the relegation zone.
Harsh perhaps, but he is happy to face the flak if it means his expensively assembled squad – tipped for the title in the summer – continue to enjoy backing from the terraces. The 55-year-old former Watford coach will tolerate no criticism of his players' attitude, and he points to defender Eddie Oshodi as an example of their commitment to the cause.
Oshodi surprisingly completed last Saturday's 3-2 defeat against Macclesfield, despite spending two nights in hospital the previous week with a virus similar to glandular fever.
Hockaday explained: "I phoned up Eddie at 11.15pm after the Kidderminster game and said, 'We may well need you'.
"He told me straight away he was there for me and ready to do whatever it takes to last 95 minutes.
"That's the attitude we need, and we are calling people in because we were down to the bare 16 players (against Macclesfield).
"The players are distraught about the run we've been on but they are giving me everything and that's all I can ask for."
Midfielder Al Bangura will return to the fold at Blundell Park after serving a one-match ban but Aarran Racine must sit out two further games through suspension.
Tomorrow's hosts have lost their last two league matches but are only two points off the play-offs zone.
It has been a turbulent season for the Mariners, who opted to dispense with the services of joint boss Rob Scott last month and are now solely managed by Paul Hurst.