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WARD - WE HAVE TO BE PREPARED

12 December 2013

Manager on Saturday's game.

John Ward is expecting a tough test when his side visit Morecambe this weekend, despite the Shrimps poor home form.

The manager believes the first half an hour will set the tone of the game, and believes it is important for his side to start well.

He said: “It will be tough, Cheltenham have just been there and beaten them, so we have to be prepared.

“The first 20-30 minutes of the game will be hard pressed, and we have to try and establish ourselves and see what mood they are in.

“If they are in a fighting mood because they lost last week, we are going to have to stand up to that, and if they have got a bit of problem, we have to try and exploit it. I expect the first one, and I don’t expect an easy ride.

“If they score first it could be their day to put things right. If we can get the upper hand you never know if it will set a few doubts in their minds.

“Every game starts with a clean slate, and it will be an interesting game. We are in good form going up there, and we will see if we can keep this good run going.”

The manager was disappointed to lose Will Packwood this week, but he will be boosted by the return of Chris Beardsley and John Joe-O’Toole, and has options in defence.

He said: “We are disappointed, but I always knew it was a possibility. Will has done a really good job here and thoroughly enjoyed himself.

“Who knows what may happen in the future, but if he gets in the Birmingham side and plays in the Championship then fair play to him, we will be very pleased that we played a small part in that.

“We won’t lose track of him, and I don’t think he will lose track of us either, I think he genuinely enjoyed his time here, and made a big impact on the fans.

“He goes with our best wishes, and we hope he does very well, and at the same time it is nice to get Beardsley and O’Toole back in our squad, two experienced players.

“Tom Lockyer has done a good job in defence, so we will deal with that, and we are hoping to get Mark McChrystal back in to full time training next week.

“Garry Kenneth joins in with the squad for training this morning for the first time, and we will see how it goes.”

And with the league so tight, Rovers could move up a number of places if they can keep their good run going over the Christmas period.

John said: “The weekend can make a difference, but with the Christmas period coming thick and fast, with five or six games over a really short space of time, if we can pick up points we could be looking at a brighter picture in the New Year.

“We have got to make sure we push on the way we have done, and keep going, especially over the congested period coming up."

The full interview will appear on Gas Player later today.

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