TOM SHAW admits Forest Green’s commitment to ‘total-football’ will pose a difficult challenge for Chester tomorrow (3pm).
The Blues head to The New Lawn to face a Rovers side who have won both meetings between the two teams this season, a 2-1 league win at the Deva before following up with a 2-0 FA Trophy success.
Blues’ midfielder Shaw accepts Mark Cooper’s side provide a stern test but added Chester will give it a ‘good bash’ as they look to bounce back from the defeat at Lincoln City.
“It’ll be a different challenge as they try and play total-football, so we’ll get in and plan how we go about that,” he said.
“We’ll work out how we can affect them, where their weaknesses are and where the strengths are because they have some very good players.
“They definitely have weaknesses though and we will look at how to exploit them. If we can get on the front foot we’ll have a chance to catch them on the break, as they do like to play high up the pitch with a high line and I think we can get at them.
“They will respect us. I’ve been in this league a hell of a long time and these opponents are non-league footballers at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter what money they’re earning or where they’ve been before, the fact is they play in the same league as us and we won’t fear anybody.
“We will go there not worrying about them, we’ll look to be positive, have a right bash at them and hopefully get a result.”
Chester’s run of three consecutive away wins ended on Tuesday with the 1-0 loss at Sincil Bank but the Blues produced a fine display against the champions-in-waiting and could have grabbed a point late on as Elliott Durrell’s shot from range was well saved by Paul Farman.
“I think the way we were clapped off by the fans at the end summed it up,” Shaw continued. “We gave absolutely everything on that pitch and everybody did the job that was required and was asked of them by the manager.
“We’ve pushed a team who will probably win the league and we had them rattled. One little mistake has cost us the game, giving the ball away cheaply in our half and good teams will punish you in this league.
“We knew we’d be under the kosh at times but we stood up to a physical team. The lads are shattered, frustrated and gutted that we didn’t get at least a point.”
It was far better on Tuesday than last weekend’s dismal 2-0 home defeat against struggling York City and Shaw added: “We had to have a reaction from Saturday. We were all disappointed as a group with that performance.
“They didn’t get into our half until six or seven minutes and we earned the right to play.
“You have to keep the ball up that top end of the pitch for as long as possible because otherwise you will struggle in this league.
“We had a spell in the second-half of 10 to 15 minutes where we were right on top.
“Duzza has produced that bit of magic at the end and nearly earned us a point but just his work rate and driving us on, it gives you a lift when you see him buzzing around.”