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WARD - THIS IS A BIG GAME

20 December 2013

Manager on tomorrow's clash with Portsmouth

John Ward believes that tomorrow’s game will be an exciting fixture to kick off the busy Christmas period. The manager is hoping that a big crowd will lend something special to the occasion.

Portsmouth have a new manager in Richie Barker, so there could be a few changes in store.

John said: “It is an all ticket game, and all seats are sold out, so there is a good atmosphere involved in that sort of game, even though there always is at the Mem.

“I think there is a really good pre-Christmas football match in prospect. 

“They are seen as a big club, and we are the home team to try and take them on and try and beat them.

“It is a big game, and the league positions of the two clubs make it all the more exciting and interesting.

“They have a new manger in, he had his first game last week and wasn’t successful, so he may want to change things.

“Come three o’clock both sets of players will have a good go at it.”

The manager will be without Tom Lockyer, who picked up his fifth booking of the season on Wednesday, and he now has to make a decision as to who could replace him.

He said: “Tom Lockyer got his fifth yellow card of the season, and that is the only thing that is kept over from the game, everything else gets obliterated.

“It is a strange anomaly of football, but we have to put up with it, and that means he is not available for tomorrow.

“We are going to have a look at the situation this morning, and I think for the first time in a while, I am not going to be able to name my team.

“Mark McChrystal comes into the reckoning, but he hasn’t played for a little while, but he is a man of experience and knowledge, and if he feels he has a chance, he will be involved in the squad somewhere.

“There’s also Pat Keary who came on at Mansfield and did exceptionally well on his debut.

“It is a key position, so we will try and get it right. The rest of the team I pretty much know what I want to do, everyone else is fine at the moment.”

Rovers will be looking to put together a good run over Christmas, but the manager is aware that his side need to improve in front of goal.

He said: “We keep reminding ourselves that we have had three defeats in 10 and ¾ games, and we have a developed a way of playing that makes it tough to play against us.

“There has only been one game where we have lost by more than one goal, it has all been pretty tight.

“We are prepared for any game, but we need to improve our goalscoring opportunities.

“That is something we have to push forward. We are creating opportunities to score, and we have got people in this squad who can score, so we just need to be a little bit more clinical.”

The full interview will be available on Gas Player later today.


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