James Norwood insists Forest Green have a winning mentality

Gazette Series: James Norwood is on a high James Norwood is on a high

Forest Green's leading marksman James Norwood believes improving confidence is set to give him and his team-mates a winning mentality ahead of the trip to Woking on Saturday (3pm), writes Richard Joyce.

After back-to-back victories over Hyde and Chester, the 23-year-old feels he is a part of a Rovers side who are heading in the right direction at the right time of the season, ahead of this weekend’s visit to Kingfield.

He said: “We are always confident of winning games because we have the quality in the squad to be able to do that. We are winning games now and picking up points so every game we go unbeaten it is going to be a lot tougher for people to come play us at home and we’ll be confident going away as well.

“All we can do is win games. Obviously it is a complete contrast from last year when we were trying to stay in the play-offs.

“We are just trying to build something at the moment. If we are fortunate to reach the play-offs this year then that’s brilliant but if we can take good form into next season, then we stand a much better chance.”

Last season saw Norwood notch 15 times in front of goal and he has already found the back of the net 12 times this season, making him the fifth highest scorer in the division heading into the weekend.

He added: “I’ve got a cooler head on me now – you can tell by my disciplinary record as well. I’ve always backed myself to score goals and it is just a matter of it happening now.”

Bad weather has had an unwanted impact on playing surfaces up and down the Conference Premier. However going into this weekend’s tie at Kingfield, Norwood doesn’t feel it is a problem which could hamper this current Rovers side.

“We always used to be better on a nice flat pitch but the way we are playing now I think we can play on any pitch.

“We’ve got a great attitude within the squad, willing runners, the two big lads up top who put their bodies on the line week in week out, so I don’t think the pitch affects us too much anymore because we have a certain style of play and it has been successful so far.”

Saturday’s trip to Surrey will be the first time this season Rovers have come up against Woking.

However it will mark the 13th visit to Kingfield in Conference fixtures alone, which means FGR have faced no other team more often than Saturday’s opposition in 16 years as a Football Conference member.

With the Cards currently hovering above the Conference Premier drop zone, Ady Pennock will know Woking will be battling hard for the three points. If Rovers manage to win on Saturday it will match the November run which saw them pick up three consecutive wins over Dartford, Nuneaton and Lincoln.

Dale Bennett is available for selection, but Yan Klukowski and Aarran Racine remain sidelined.

Chris Stokes continues to miss out after a reaction to his hamstring problem, while Matty Taylor, who scored in the 2-1 win against Cardiff City U21s, has gone on  loan  to league rivals Chester.

Magno Vieria will be pushing for a start after scoring at Cardiff in the mid-week friendly.

Jared Hodgkiss is expected to continue at right back after the 27-year-old returned from injury last weekend.

Goalkeeper Matt Bulman has been released by the club, which will bring young keepers Adam McHugh and Paul White into consideration for a spot on the bench.

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