With nine clean sheets to his name since returning to the starting eleven, Steve Arnold is providing a more than safe pair of hands at the back for Forest Green Rovers heading into the final few months of the season.
The former Stevenage goalkeeper kept another clean sheet in Saturday’s fine win at Gateshead, to bring the total number of clean sheets in the division for FGR this season to 16.
Alongside goalkeeping colleague Jonny Maxted, Arnold has managed to help Rovers to second in the clean sheets table.
His contribution on Tyneside last weekend was integral in helping Ady Pennock’s side to a morale boosting win against play-off chasing Gateshead, and it has made a week on the training ground all the more enjoyable.
“It helps with a win and a clean sheet but the boys around the place in the last 10 games or so have been brilliant,” Arnold assessed.
“We always know our capabilities, even towards the end of last year. Those are the places where we have to turn up and get a result, and we have done. We’ve got another one of them Saturday.”
The 26 year old has recorded successful shut outs in away wins over Lincoln City, FC Halifax and Guiseley to name a few matches, and he has been supported by having a regular back four in front of him.
“Clean sheets are always nice and knowing who you’ve got in front of you is even better,” he added.
“They have done superbly and long may that continue.”
Arnold’s decision making on crosses into the box saw him lead the way at Gateshead. It was an area of the Heed’s game that Rovers research had targeted.
And it proved successful, as Arnold commanded his area and denied the hosts from threatening in wide areas.
“We’ve been doing a lot in training on that. The gaffer did that with us on the Thursday and the Friday and said they’d do it, so we prepared in that way.
“It would help anyone. Any keeper coming through it’s always nice to see. They gave me the space to do it and I went and done it.”
Another difficult test presents itself this weekend when Forest Green make their first ever visit to Tranmere Rovers’ Prenton Park.
The former Football League side are tucked just outside the play-off places on goal difference currently.
Arnold has played there previously for Stevenage almost exactly three years ago in a 3-1 defeat, which saw teammate Antony Jeffrey included as an unused substitute while on loan from Arsenal.
“I think I’ve played there once. It’s a nice ground. It’s one of those old ones and a big ground so hopefully they’ll draw a big crowd,” he continued.
“That’ll be good for us playing in front of a few thousand. We’ll have to wait and see what it is like.”