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Relieved Styche won't miss promotion push

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 08, 2013

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UNDOUBTEDLY due a lucky break after a season of frustration, relieved Reece Styche will not be sidelined from Forest Green's promotion mission for long.

Styche had to be carried off in the 59th minute of last Saturday's scoreless draw against Wrexham after twisting his knee, and he definitely misses tomorrow's Blue Square Bet Premier A-list clash at Luton Town (3pm).

The 23-year-old striker, a former transfer target of tomorrow's hosts, feared he had suffered a repeat of the cartilage damage that required surgery in October 2011 and kept him out of the game for six months.

But he has been given the all-clear to start running again this weekend and intends to travel with the squad to Bedfordshire.

Styche said: "I've got to admit I panicked when I went down against Wrexham – I got the same the sick feeling I had last time.

"I was screaming at Eddie Oshodi when he ran over to me and it must have scared him as well, but luckily it's only a slight strain and the swelling has almost gone now."

Styche was the subject of two bids from Luton in September 2011 but opted to sign a contract extension with Rovers, tying him to the club until the end of next season.

Injury restricted him to nine starts last term, although he still managed to net eight times to help his side clinch a top-ten finish.

This campaign has mostly seen him play second fiddle to Matty Taylor in the central striker's role, though he can again boast an impressive strike rate of six goals in eight league starts.

"It's annoying that I've got injured after starting the last two games, but that's football," said Styche.

"Luckily we've still got 17 games left and maybe the play-offs after that, so I can still play a massive part in our season and it could be an amazing time for us.

"I'm gutted to be missing Luton but I've got a good feeling about the game. It won't define our season but we're more than capable of winning down there."

Rovers midfielder Steve Brogan picked up a groin injury this week and misses the trip to Kenilworth Road, as does defender Aarran Racine (hand).

Luton could include as many as four former Rovers in their ranks in the shape of Alex Lawless, Jonathan Smith, Stuart Fleetwood and Scott Rendell.

The latter shot to national prominence in the last round of the FA Cup, scoring a late winner at Norwich City as Luton became the first non-League team to knock out top-flight opposition since 1989.

And Fleetwood will need no introduction to the away fans, having bagged 36 goals for the New Lawn outfit in 2007/08 and joined Rendell on the scoresheet in Luton's 2-1 win in Nailsworth in October.

The Hatters have also added to their defensive options this week with the signing of Gloucester-born Wayne Thomas.

Now 33, Thomas can boast vast Football League experience with Torquay United, Stoke City, Burnley, Southampton and Doncaster Rovers.

He has spent the last two seasons in Greece, plying his trade with Atromitos and Veria before moving back to the UK at the turn of the year.

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