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JW ON MAINTAINING PERFORMANCE LEVEL

28 February 2013

Manager on Saturday's game

John Ward insists that he has been impressed with the performances from his team since he came to the club.

Although Rovers have only won once out of the last three games, they have only lost three times in 12.

The manager said: “Results are paramount, but performances come first, that was our third defeat in the 12 games since we came together as a group.

“When you look at that block of games we have had nine positive results, but in terms of performances I have been pleased with all of them. That was first reaction after the game on Tuesday; I was disappointed for the players, not with them.

“They put everything in to that game to try and take something home and it hasn’t happened, but we did that to Barnet and Cheltenham and we were excited about that.

“It happens against you as well as for you, and it is how you deal with it that is the important part.”

The team now have another three games coming up, starting with Burton on Saturday.

John said: “There are three big games coming up against teams looking to get in the top three at the end of the season, and we have to be on our mettle. 

“We have got to maintain the level of performance we have been doing.

“I am fine with how the boys are going about their game, I am fine with the way the staff are working and I am really pleased with how the supporters are taking it.

“We have talked about being together, and all three of those groups are working exceptionally hard to do their best for Bristol Rovers.

“If we do that again on Saturday we give ourselves the best chance of getting a positive result, and that has to be the way forward.”

And Burton currently find themselves in third place in the league.

The manager said: “They have done a fantastic job, particularly the management. They are working on crowds of less than 3,000, and I have done that myself and I know how tough it can be.

“Their recruitment has been really, really good, and at the moment it is happening for them.

“They have got goals in their team, and when the confidence improves they will believe anything can happen.

“They will now be believing they can get in the top three at the end of the season, and that is a different pressure for them. We have got to make sure we try and put a dent in it for them.”

The  manager believes it is a question of how you look at things when you look at the league table.

“Everybody looks at the table, me included, and when you are six points off the bottom two it is nicer than when you are three points off the bottom two. But if you looked at it at the end of December we were in a worse plight.

“I cannot believe how quick February has gone, we have played seven games and only lost two of them, and we are in a good position, being out of the bottom two and in the top of that bottom six group.

“We are only two or three points off the teams above us, we have talked about the bottom six, but what about the middle table group – can we catch them?”

The manager will have more options going in to Saturday’s game, with Clayton McDonald back, and Ryan Brunt back in training.

There will also be the addition of Oumare Tounkara, who joined the club on a short term contract for the rest of the season.

John said: “Clayton McDonald is now the father of a baby boy, which is brilliant, and he is available for the weekend.

“We have a chance of getting Ryan Brunt out, he trained pretty well yesterday and is going to train hard again with Phil Kite today, and if everything goes well we could get him back in the group on Friday morning preparing for the game.

“We have those two coming back and Oumare Tounkara has signed a contract until the end of the season, so that is another player who wasn’t available on Tuesday.

“We have done some work with him and done our backgrounds and signed him on a short term contract. It gives us another strength and me another option.

“So that strengthens the group and gives me more options to choose from as we go into these last 12 games.”

However, the manager expects to be without Fabian Broghammer who is not yet 100% and he also confirmed that David Clarkson could miss the rest of the season.

John said: “Fabian is training, but he is currently at three quarter pace. Over the next two days we will see how he goes, I am not expecting him to be available for Saturday, but if he is it will be a bonus. I would expect him to be available next week.

“Dave Clarkson is going to need an operation, and that is going to put him out for the rest of the season. It is a shame because he is an important senior player, and we cannot get that ankle right.”

For the full interview visit Gas Player

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