Hockaday hopes Rovers can trip the lights fantastic
DAVE Hockaday is hoping the Friday night lights can inspire his Forest Green side to a victory that would reignite their Blue Square Bet Premier play-off ambitions.
Rovers will be underdogs in this evening's televised clash at the New Lawn against Mansfield Town (7.45pm), with the Stags seeking a ninth straight win that would put them top of the table.
But Tuesday's dramatic 2-1 triumph for Hockaday's men at Southport, secured in the last four minutes thanks to goals from substitutes Yemi Odubade and Wes Burns, has restored some much-needed belief to the ranks.
The Nailsworth outfit are back to within three points of the top five, although they have played more matches than all of the teams above them.
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Hockaday said: "We've put in good performances against all the top teams this season and I'm sure we'll do so again, although a good result is what we really need.
"We're on 61 points after 38 games, and if we had been offered that at the start of the season we might have taken it, but given the quality we've got and way we've played we're disappointed.
"Our last Friday night game was against Lincoln (in September) and we ran out 3-0 winners on what was a great night, so hopefully the crowd will come in their numbers again and get behind us."
Rovers looked set to extend their winless run to six matches in midweek, serving up an insipid first-half performance to deservedly trail 1-0 at the break.
The 'Hockaday hairdryer' is rarely used, but the normally measured Rovers boss revealed how his players were subjected to a verbal lashing in order to coax an improved display.
"In the first half we were shocking – we didn't turn up and it didn't look like we fancied it," he said.
"It looked like we'd given up. It was the most bizarre half I'd ever seen, and for the second time this season I had to rip into the players.
"I don't like to do that I shouldn't have to do that with the quality we've got, but in the second half we blew Southport away and we could have been four up before we scored."
Both Odubade and Burns have pressed their claims for a starting berth tonight after netting their first goals for the club at Haig Avenue.
Burns' impact was especially spectacular, the Welsh teenager's 92nd minute rocket sealing all three points a matter of hours after his arrival from Bristol City.
Hockaday said: "Wes is somebody that we've played against a couple of times and we liked him.
"Bizarrely I went to watch him in an Under-21 game and he got a knock early on and didn't have a great night, but we needed to add something to almost start our season again.
"He came on and showed what he can do. They (Bristol City) think very highly of him."