by Adam Kennedy
Scottish midfielder Regan Hendry played a huge part in Forest Green Rovers’ 2021/22 League Two title success, with The Green finding life in League One a bit trickier.
Not aided by the fact that Rob Edwards – their promotion-winning manager – left for Watford, Forest Green are currently rooted to the bottom of England’s third tier.
Everton legend Duncan Ferguson took the reigns in January but hasn’t steered the club away from a basement battle yet. After telling fellow Scot Regan Hendry that he was surplus to requirements, the 25-year-old has joined Tranmere Rovers in League Two.
“The interest had been there pretty much the full [January] window,” began the former Raith Rovers midfielder. “It only became clear to me at the end of the window that I might not be part of the plans at Forest Green so it was a no-brainer to come here and finish the season.”
The Super White Army are sat in 15th position and are eight points off Salford City in that final playoff place. If Hendry is to be promoted from England’s fourth tier two years in a row, he acknowledges that Rovers need to go on a run.
“We [Forest Green] obviously won the league last year, and we had a great squad. Hopefully I can bring something to the squad that can push us forward. More than anything, we need a good team and to have that chemistry and cohesion,” claimed the former Celtic youth.
“That’s what we had last year and there’s a great spirit here so I think that will be massive. We’re only a couple wins away from being in and amongst it and it only takes a good little run.”
Hendry’s parent club are certainly missing something since his compatriot took over. They came closest to collecting all three points in his first match in the dugout, before conceding two injury time goals away to Shrewsbury and losing 2-1 after leading for over an hour.
Three defeats in four league matches have followed, with the exception being a 1-1 draw away at Morecambe. Despite taking the lead on 81 minutes through Jahmari Clarke, the hosts fought back and found themselves on level terms thanks to former Hearts striker Cole Stockton’s 89th minute equaliser.
However, now the former Raith Rovers captain’s focus is on Tranmere where promotion into League 1 – potentially bypassing parent club Forest Green – is the aim. Jacob McKay, behind the Super White Army Twitter account, has been impressed in Hendry’s short stint so far.
“We have known for ages that Regan Hendry was a fantastic player, with his overall style of play seeming to intrigue Micky Mellon. He has performed really well for us this season. He is still awaiting a goal or an assist, but he brings a breath of fresh air to the team.
He seems to control the midfield and drive forward, attempting to split defences. I feel that, if we were on a better run of form, Regan would be the person to spearhead us to promotion, but our lacklustre performances all over the pitch are making it hard for him to flourish and show his creativity.”
McKay’s concerns are justified, given Tranmere have lost four of their last five but he concedes it’ll be tough for the Merseysiders to wrestle their way into the coveted playoff places in League Two.
“We are only eight points away from the prestigious playoff places, but there are eight teams that separate us. At the beginning of the season, our main target was to aim for promotion. We had a good run of form in October, which boosted optimism amongst the fans, but we seem to have let it slip since November/December time.”
Hendry was one of five January signings which the fans hope can lead them to something similar and gatecrash the playoff party. Should they do so, there’s a possibility that they could leapfrog parent club Forest Green into England’s third tier.
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