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Lawless boost after Rovers slip up again

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: December 22, 2008

Alex Lawless

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ALEX LAWLESS is ready to return to the Forest Green ranks for their Boxing Day trip to Kidderminster Harriers in the Blue Square Premier.

Out since November 22 due to a combination of back and hamstring injuries, the Welsh midfielder is one of Rovers' most reliable performers and has been sorely missed.

His absence was never more strongly felt than in Saturday's 2-0 home defeat to Kettering Town, which plunged the Nailsworth club back into the bottom four after a mini revival.

Lawless has spent the past fortnight training with specially-developed insoles in his boots in an attempt to rectify a biomechanical problem, and it appears to have done the trick.

Rovers manager Jim Harvey said: "Alex should be back this week, which is good news and a big plus for us.

"I think we also missed (the suspended) Jonathan Smith on Saturday, and those two boys could make the difference."

Harvey's side never recovered from conceding twice in three first-half minutes against Kettering, the first scored by Alfie Potter after poor defending from a free-kick.

Gareth Seddon grabbed the second from the penalty spot after Darran Kempson was harshly adjudged to have handled in the area, leaving the hosts shellshocked after dominating the opening throes of the match.

Harvey said: "Our defending for the first goal was disappointing. That sort of thing has been killing us this season.

"I don't know about the referee for the second one – the fella just headed it from a yard away and it hit Darran on the arm.

"I thought they (Kettering) were lacklustre and slow to get going in the first 20 minutes, and that was our opportunity. But we didn't show any ability or urgency in the attacking third to expose them and we should have made more of that time.

"We had a lot of possession, but slowly and surely they fell into a rhythm and started to sit deep on us and we couldn't break them down.

"In games like that you needed skill and quality, and with that goes desire, courage and commitment.

"We've got boys who will run about and are dead keen and others who are very talented. Trying to combine the two is proving very difficult."

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    chris, stroud  |  December 22 2008, 3:02PM

    The Kettering match said everything about Rovers this season. We dominate possession but our opponents know that having got to their penalty area we will not shoot rather pass the ball around in search of the perfect goal. At our end, a couple of gaffs can be relied on. On the plus side, Terry Burton is looking like the sort of talented and decisive keeper we've never had - a million miles from Ryan's decent shot stopping mixed with panic-flapping. Lee Fowler also looks the part as does Paul Stonehouse and Andy Mangan (when he shoots). However, Gill does not have the legs to get forward nor to defend against pace, and Darran Kempson shows neither aerial strength nor sound defensive play - and that is getting to an increasingly unreliable Jonah. Gill should make way for the outstanding Chris Thomas, and would that Lee Molyneau should be slotting alongside Jonah rather than the hapless Kempson or Preece whilst we await Hardiker's return. Molyneau looked a sound centre back blessed with pace, and I don't see those abilities in either Kempson or Preece. Its so frustrating to see Rovers lose to teams they outplay. Sorry Jim, it was a clear penalty - suggest you ask Darran why he doesn't jump against the player rather than do a 'star jump' behind him - he did that twice in the match, the first time conceding a free kick in midfield, the second, the penalty - if you jump with your arms outstretched in the penalty area any referee will find against you, rightly so. C'mon Rovers - half a season left to turn things around but cut out the joke defending.