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Ady Pennock: Forest Green face huge test against Grimsby Town

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 14, 2014

By Pete Orchard

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Ady Pennock

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Forest Green face an acid test of their progress under Ady Pennock when Grimsby Town visit the New Lawn in the Skrill Premier tonight (7.45pm).

Rovers’ 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture at Blundell Park in October spelt the end of former manager Dave Hockaday’s four-year spell in charge.

Pennock has yet to taste defeat at home in the league since taking over the reins, but he is an admirer of the fifth-placed Mariners and has warned his players not to allow their intensity levels to drop.

He said: “Myself and (assistant manager) Dave Kevan have been really pleased with how the lads have responded to us since we came in.

“They are really good bunch and I think our performances are improving all the time, but we are by no means the finished article and we still have a lot to learn.

“Grimsby will be a good barometer of how far we’ve come – probably the hardest opposition we’ve faced since I took over.

“They are in the play-offs and the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy, so they will come to our place with plenty of confidence and will fancy their chances.

“We will need to be ready for that and I’m sure we will be against one of the fancied teams in our league.”

One man Pennock will have no qualms about thrusting into the fray is defender Eddie Oshodi, who turns 22 today and spent last week training with League One leaders Brentford.

Rovers have assured the ex-Watford defender they will not stand in his way if the Bees make an acceptable offer for his services, but for now he is ready to fill the breach in central defence caused by Aarran Racine’s groin injury.

Pennock said: “I’ve had a good chat with Eddie and he is absolutely buzzing at the moment.

“The situation with Brentford is ongoing, but he has shown a great attitude since coming back and he is more than ready to play against Grimsby.

“We’ve been very honest and up-front with him, and vice versa, so I’m pleased to have him back with us.”

Pennock expects Racine to be sidelined for around two weeks with the problem he picked up in last week’s draw with Hereford United.

Jared Hodgkiss (shin), Chris Stokes (hamstring) and Kieron Forbes (foot) remain unavailable but on-loan Jerome Binnom-Williams is fully fit after struggling with cramp against the Bulls.

And utility man Paul Green is another option after finally completing a three-match ban, incurred way back on December 21 with a red card at FC Halifax Town.

Weekend results have left Rovers 10 points adrift of the final play-offs berth, currently occupied by this evening’s visitors.

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