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Club News

WARD ON SOUTHEND

11 April 2013

Manager on Saturday's game

It will be the end of a long week for our opposition when Rovers take on Southend at Roots Hall this weekend.

The Shrimpers lost in the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Sunday at Wembley, before suffering defeat at the hands of Rochdale on Wednesday night.

But it will be another tough test for Rovers on the road.

Manager John Ward said: “It is a big week for them, originally the game was Friday night, but they played last night so we have readjusted to Saturday.

“They also had the cup final last Sunday, so it is a big baptism of fire for Phil Brown going in there.

“We have got to go and see how we can deal with them. They have been there or thereabouts on the edge of getting into the play offs all season, so we will see where we stand against them.

“Saturday will be a difficult game, as Phil will wind them up and want them to do really well at home and finish their seasons strongly, in the same way that I do.”

The manager was without a number of key players on Tuesday night, but he was impressed with Ollie Clarke who came on for the injured Danny Woodards.

John said: “We have had a bit of strength missing from the team, my two strikers are 19 year old boys, my two midfielders are 19 and 20 and they have got to grow up quickly and come of age.

“Every game is a test and even though we lost the game relatively heavily, we stuck at the task as strongly as we could.

“For every bad situation, it opens up opportunities for other people, and that is life. Ollie Clarke was the midfield boy on the bench and I had to stick him in there.

“He himself is on his way back from injury, and I thought he did very well. I was very pleased with him.

“To be suddenly thrown into that sort of game, he showed a lot of composure on the ball, and showed me what he can do at first team level.”

And there will be a couple of players back available for Saturday’s game. “Tom Parkes will be back available, and we have Oumare Tounkara back training today. 

“Ellis Harrison is not training today, but should be on the coach going across to Southend.”

And for John the message to his players remains the same – try and win the last three games.

He said: “The challenge is to try and win the last three games – which is what we have been trying to do all the way through.

"I have no reason to change the way I want to try and play, and these boys work really hard for me, and did that again on Tuesday.

“I have no grumbles about their work ethic, we just weren’t good enough on the night. We have to be as positive as we can.”

And the manager says that plans for the future are underway: “Talks are being had with some of the players, myself and the Chairman, so we are trying to plan ahead. We are making those plans and have already started doing that.”

For the full interview, visit Gas Player.

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