‘It gives the game a little edge’ – Shay McCartan exclusive on Forest Green Rovers rivalry

The Imps’ on-loan midfielder Shay McCartan has spoken of understanding the rivalry between the two clubs, believing it can add a little edge to proceedings.

Mark Cooper’s side visit the Bank this weekend with what is perhaps best described as ‘history’ between the two clubs. The unlikely rivalry sprung up as we challenged them for the National League title and whilst there’s little issue with Tranmere Rovers, our other rivals at that time, the FGR match carries quite significant weight.

With the Imps looking to get back to winning ways this weekend, 24-year old McCartan was keen to stress that the side want to win every game, rivalry or not.

“We come into the game looking to get back on track and back to winning ways. There’s a case of understanding the rivalry in the past, we’ve been told about it and are the new lads are all aware of.”

In terms of using that to their advantage, the Bradford City man told me it can lead to additional motivation, but that every game is important.

“It’s something you can strive for and use, it gives the game added importance. You want to win every game, that is obvious, but with a previous history it makes it additionally important to get a win. It gives the game a little edge.”

This will be the first time McCartan has faced up against Forest Green, but the rivalry between them and us goes back some way. Although it was always an interesting clash ‘BC’ (before Cowley), the November 19th 2016 win at their place ignited a flame that has burned ever since.

In four matches including that game we’ve taken 12 points from 12, but tomorrow will be a tough prospect against a side beaten just once this season.

McCartan has impressed since joining on loan from the Bantams in the summer and could potentially play with one of three partners. When asked if he had to adjust his game according to who he paired, he outlined what he felt were his team mates strengths.

“You have to adapt as we’ve got such different strikers in the squad and they have different strengths. Rheady is great in the air and will win most aerial battles, but then you’ve got John (Akinde) who has that presence but can run in behind. Then you’ve got Greeny, he’s just electric in behind.”

“You have to know the profile of the player you’re playing with, but I’ve been here long enough to understand their game and hopefully they understand mine too.”


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