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Thomas departs Rovers ahead of Oxford trip

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: January 20, 2009

Chris Thomas has left Forest Green Rovers after falling out of favour

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DEFENDER Chris Thomas has left Forest Green after falling out of favour with manager Jim Harvey.

The Welshman moved to the New Lawn from Carmarthen Town on a non-contract deal last summer and began the season as Harvey's first-choice right-back.

But the capture of Jerry Gill as player-coach from Cheltenham Town in October restricted his opportunities, and the 26-year-old's departure has been confirmed ahead of tonight's crucial Blue Square Premier clash at Oxford United (7.45pm).

Rovers badly need a morale boost after Saturday's 2-1 reverse at home to Eastbourne Borough, and know victory this evening would take them out of the bottom four.

They must again do without defender Darren Jones, who has a calf strain, while forward Conal Platt misses out with a groin injury.

But midfielder Alex Lawless (hamstring) is expected to start after being substituted on 65 minutes as a precaution at the weekend.

Oxford were 1-0 victors over Altrincham last time, easing the pain of a five-point deduction from the league for fielding an ineligible player.

It has been another turbulent season all round at the Kassam Stadium, with Darren Patterson replaced as manager last month by former Halifax boss Chris Wilder.

The Us will be without suspended right-back Chris Carrutthers but former Bristol Rovers winger and Forest Green loanee Lewis Haldane is expected to feature.

FOREST GREEN (FROM): T. Burton, J. Gill, M. Preece, L. Ayres, P. Stonehouse, A. Lawless, L. Fowler, J. Smith, S. Clist, L. Afful, C. McDonald, A. Rigoglioso, D. Brown. A. Mangan, M. Symons, R. Robinson.

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