Nick on league form, Sainsbury's and the FA CupI must start by saying how disappointed I was with the last two results, especially given the style of the performance we gave against Torquay during our last home game.
We had been on a good run of form, losing just one of the seven games prior to last week, so it was discouraging to see us slip back with two below par performances. We have now shown exactly what we are capable of when we play at our best, and I want to see that level of performance every week.
We have been badly hampered by injuries, with Mark estimating that around 45% of his wage bill has been lost in the treatment room, but I still think we can expect better from the side we have available.
With a number of injured players returning, or close to a return, I am hopeful that our fortunes will change soon. If Mark is able to pick from a fully fit squad, then I really think we will be a force to be reckoned with in this league.
I personally cannot wait to see Danny Woodards back in the side; he was our player of the season last year, and I think he can make a real difference to our defence.
Last night the U18s made it through the first round of the FA Youth Cup with a good performance against Torquay. The youth team are having another impressive season, and I was particularly pleased to see Shaquille Hunter make his return to competitive action against Yeovil last weekend.
Alan Walsh is doing a fantastic job working with Matt Bennett and the coaches at all the different age groups, to produce some really exciting prospects for the future.
We also hope to be able to make an announcement very soon about Ken Oram’s replacement as Head of Youth. We have taken our time to make this appointment, but we are convinced that we now have the right man to complete our youth set up.
It is now just over three weeks until the planning meeting that will decide whether or not Sainsbury’s will be allowed to redevelop the current Memorial Stadium land, allowing us to build the new UWE Stadium.
I cannot emphasise enough how important this is to the future of Bristol Rovers Football Club, and there are still a number of ways you can register your support for Sainsbury’s application.
Firstly you can leave a comment on the Bristol City Council website registering your support at http://planningonline.bristol.gov.uk/online-applications/ application 12/02090/F. Alternatively you can sign the e-petition, set up by a local resident in support of the plans http://epetitions.bristol.gov.uk/epetition_core/view/sainsburysatmem
Your backing is vitally important to the scheme, and really can make a difference. I would like to thank everyone who has already taken the time to register their support, and would urge the rest of you to just take a couple of minutes out of your day to try and help make the new UWE Stadium the future of Bristol Rovers.
Saturday sees us forget about the league for a few days as we prepare for some FA Cup action. We have been handed an exciting draw, against arguably the best team currently in the competition, and it represents a real chance for us to pit our wits against a proper footballing side.
There is no doubting that it is going to be a tough match, but if we can play like we did in that first half against Torquay, then I see no reason why we cannot really take the game to them.
Please come on down on Saturday, help us create a bumper crowd at the Mem, and continue the fantastic support you have given the team so far this season.