ALEX Sykes is a name that, even five years on from his final playing days at Forest Green, continues to be held in high regard at The New Lawn as the former England Futsal international formed part of the Rovers side that secured back to back promotions to secure entry in to the Conference in the late 1990’s, writes Richard Joyce.
And on Wednesday night Sykes will face up against his former club for the first time as a manager as Forest Green take a reserve team, that will be highly dominated by first team players and under 18s products, to Kayte Lane for both sides first Gloucestershire Senior Cup ties of the season.
“It’s a really nice draw for me and Steve Jones,” commented Sykes. “It’s a nice opportunity for us to play against our former club.”
Sykes is one of the highest appearance making players of all time at Forest Green and his team mate and assistant boss, Steve Jones, also enjoyed two spells at the Nailsworth club in between time spent in the Football League with Swansea and Cheltenham Town.
“It’s a nice game to have as it gives us a break from the league but our form in the league has been excellent.
“Me and Steve will start as we need a game as we were on the bench on Saturday against Clevedon.”
And the two coaches won’t be the only players in the Cleeve squad in with a chance of facing up against a former team.
Midfielder Lee Davis made four substitute appearances for Rovers in the Conference whilst defender Ashley Caldwell is a product of the youth team at The New Lawn.
James Nortei featured in Rovers reserve team for several seasons whilst the likes of Carl Brown and Sam Avery have both spent time on trial in an attempt to earn a contract with Forest Green.
New Cleeve loan signing, Marc McGregor, who scored a brace at the weekend in the win over Clevedon, also spent time at Forest Green and left the club alongside Sykes for Nuneaton Borough in 2000 for a fee worth £35,000.
Meanwhile Bishop’s Cleeve have also moved to bring in attack minded Ian Sercombe from Hellenic Premier Division neighbours, Cheltenham Saracens.