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Match Previews


21 December 2012

A look ahead to tomorrow's game

John Ward returns for his second spell as manager of Bristol Rovers with a clear goal – to keep the side he loves in the Football League.

His first game in charge will be a tough test, as high flying Rotherham United visit the Memorial Stadium. But if everyone at the club pulls together, there is no reason why Rovers cannot get a result tomorrow.

John Ward was brought into the club on Monday, following the dismissal of Mark McGhee after Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at York – a result that saw Rovers remain in the relegation zone.

OPPOSITION: The Millers are flying high in League Two this season after spending wisely over the summer months. The early promotion favourites currently sit in fourth place in the table, just a few points outside the automatic promotion places. They won their last fixture, an FA Cup clash with Notts County, 3-0, and their last league fixture was also a win, picking up three points away at AFC Wimbledon.

Despite beginning his career with Bolton Wanderers, the Glaswegian spent the majority of his playing career in Scotland before a premature retirement at the age of 24.

However, he soon made the transition into management and enjoyed promotions with Stamford and Boston United, whom he took from the lower echelons of non-league football, into the Football League, with a win percentage of almost 50%.

When he left the Lincolnshire club, Evans joined Crawley Town. In 2010/11 Crawley stormed to the Conference title with 105 points, and also reached the fifth round of the FA Cup and a showdown against Manchester Utd.
Crawley were still sitting in an automatic promotion place, when Evans left to join the Millers.

A player with Champions League experience, Nardiello began his career under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United where he featured in two competitions without making his league bow.

However, following two loan spells at Barnsley he made the switch permanent in 2005 and after netting the decisive goal in the semi-final against Huddersfield Town, he then scored the equalising goal at the Millennium Stadium to take the tie to penalties.

He left Barnsley for QPR before returning to Oakwell on loan a year later. He later moved to Blackpool, where he spent two years and after numerous loan spells away from the club, signed for Exeter City in 2010.

He topped the goalscoring charts for the Grecians last season before signing for Steve Evans’ side ahead of the new season. He is their current top goal scorer, netting 11 times so far this season.

JOHN WARD’S PREVIEW: “I have to take advice. I have Marcus Stewart and Shaun North working alongside me and they both saw Rotherham play on Tuesday.

“Everyone is pulling their weight to try and do those things and we are looking at getting things right as quickly as we can because I have no time to build. It is important to hit the ground running. 
“There is a big part to play for supporters and players alike, but can make this a really difficult place for Rotherham to come on Saturday. 

“They are a good side with good players, but at the same time they could come and have a bad day, and we could have a good day and we could beat them.

“Cian Bolger is back around the group and we have Tom Parkes fit and well after taking a knock in the week.

“The good thing is we are getting people back out there who want to play and want to be involved. Cian has worked his socks off this week to be there on Saturday, and that is what the supporters want to see.”

LAST SEASON: Rotherham will be looking for revenge as Rovers won both league fixtures against them last season. The home match saw one of the rare highlights of the early part of the campaign as Rovers ran out 5-2 winners. Scott McGleish, Lee Brown, Cian Bolger and Joe Anyinsah all got their names on the score sheet. Rovers also won the away fixture, this time Andy Dorman scored the only goal of the game.

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