Hockaday: I'm the man to revive the Rovers
UNDER-fire boss Dave Hockaday is convinced he is the right man to lead Forest Green out of their Skrill Premier slump – but admits he is feeling the pressure.
Hockaday's side were thumped 4-1 by Kidderminster Harriers on Tuesday night, a fifth defeat in six matches that has left them closer to the relegation zone than the play-offs places.
A 129-strong band of Rovers fans at Aggborough vented their fury on the manager with chants the included 'You don't know what you're doing' and 'You're getting sacked in the morning.'
But the former Watford and Southampton academy coach, who has occupied the New Lawn hot seat for more than four years, has no intention of walking away.
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And he is confident he retains the support of chairman Dale Vince, who has backed him with an unprecedented playing budget and made no secret of his ambitions to bring League football to Nailsworth.
Hockaday said: "I obviously feel under pressure because of the fact results haven't gone for us.
"Performances have been okay but key moments and key decisions are not going our way.
"I always feel under pressure. Even when we win by two I want to win by three, and I hate losing.
"I'm a winner. My record throughout my career as a player, as a coach and even as a manager shows that I win more than I lose.
"That pressure comes from me, and there are people out there who can say what they say. I can't control that.
"I'm convinced I'm the right man to take us forward and I really believe we'll do well this season.
"The players are determined to put it right and they will put it right, and we're going to shut up a lot of people because we're going to get up the league.
"It's not going to be easy because we're in a bit of a place, but all I know is we will work hard."
A disastrous night at Kidderminster began brightly for the visitors, Matthew Barnes-Homer netting against his former club in the sixth minute.
But the second-placed Harriers were 2-1 up when Forest Green midfielder Al Bangura was shown his second yellow card and dismissed on 67 minutes.
Amari Morgan-Smith added two more goals – the second from the penalty spot following George Pilkington's handball – and Rovers finished with nine men after Aarran Racine and Kidderminster's James Dance were sent off for a stoppage-time altercation.
Hockaday felt referee Kevin Johnson called some key decisions incorrectly, with an appeal likely to be lodged over the Racine red card.
"The scoreline looks worse than it was because we started off well and scored a good goal," he said.
"We conceded from a set play when one of our players hasn't picked up his man, and when the second half started I felt both teams had settled for a draw.
"But then there was a blatant handball in the build-up to their second goal, when we all stopped.
"The third goal from them was a great goal – sometimes you've got hold your hands up – but with 10 men we took the game to them and their keeper made four great saves.
"Then they get a penalty appeal and it goes their way, and it just feels at the moment that we're not getting a fair rub of the green.
"It seems that everything than can go wrong is going wrong, and I feel for my players because they are putting in a shift and not getting the decisions.
"We will circle the wagons, we will look after ourselves and we'll come back punching on Saturday (against Macclesfield Town)."
On referee Johnson's performance, Hockaday added: "There were players for the opposition who were still on the park and didn't even get a yellow, despite committing four or five fouls.
"You want consistency, and the ref couldn't wait to get the card out of his pocket for Al's second yellow.
"The Aarran Racine one was bizarre because both players went in and we got the free-kick, yet he red carded our man."
Hockaday became Forest Green manager in September 2009 following the shock dismissal of Jim Harvey and David Brown's nine-game spell in caretaker charge.
His side finished fourth from bottom of the table but were reprieved from relegation due to Salisbury City's demotion on financial grounds.
He has since led Rovers – currently lying 14th – to back-to-back 10th-placed finishes.