He’s donned the gloves at League One level in huge matches at Sheffield United, MK Dons, Bournemouth and Portsmouth, so goalkeeper Steve Arnold brings with him all the quality and experience needed for Forest Green’s thrilling promotion run in.
With nine clean sheets from 21 appearances in the league this season for Rovers, the 26 year old can see a successful end to the season in sight, as Ady Pennock’s men target promotion success with five huge games to go.
Wrexham are the visitors to FGR on Saturday for the first of five massive fixtures that are understandably being described as ‘cup finals’ in Rovers season.
“Coming towards the end of the season you can tell the difference because the weather starts changing and games start meaning a lot more depending on where you are in the league,” said Arnold.
“It is within touching distance. When you’re in November it always feels like the season is going to go on forever, but now we know it’s actually near and we are in with a massive chance and we’re buzzing even more now.”
As a goalkeeper, the former Norwich City youngster knows all about the pressure involved in the business end of the season, having been part of a Stevenage squad two whole levels above the National League.
So Arnold is the right person in the right place for Rovers on Saturday, and he’s hoping to get the job done for one of the most important periods in Forest Green’s entire history.
“It was a different sort of situation when I was at Stevenage. We were fighting for our lives against relegation so they were big games and we’re fighting for promotion here.
“We look forward to Saturday and we know what is riding on it – hopefully we will go out there and do a job.
“I definitely deal with it [pressure] a lot better. When you are younger you’re still learning, but it’s an individual role, although we’re still a team and I rely on the back four as much as they rely on me and the midfielders.”
The players are going to need the support of the FGR faithful for Saturday’s visit from Wrexham and for the four other remaining fixtures that are scheduled in if automatic promotion to the Football League is to become a reality.
Arnold is calling on the club’s fans to get behind the team in noise and number once again tomorrow, and to help make The New Lawn a fiery atmosphere that can boost the team to go on and snatch all three points.
“They have been great the last few games. We need everyone now. There has been a bit of doom and gloom about but we’ve only lost one game this year and we’re on an unbeaten run,” he continued.
“The results haven’t been great but they could have been a hell of a lot worse and we’re up there.
“We need everyone behind Forest Green now.”