Ward on Gilligham loss
John Ward was pleased with the spirit and commitment shown by his side this afternoon, despite them slipping to a 2-0 defeat to Gillingham.
Rovers played some good football, but were lacking in the final third, and the manager says that a new striker is a priority.
He admits that his young side found it tough at times against such an experienced and well organised team.
He said: “I thought their experience and strength told. We tried to match the strength with the way we set things out, but when we lost Joe Anyinsah at half time we lost that little bit of power at the top end.
“We have succumbed to two good finishes, in a similar way to how we beat Plymouth last week. I have no complaints about the way the Rovers team went about their job.
“It is relatively young, and got younger as the game wore on, but they have showed a lot of spirit and endeavour.
“We are not going to win every football match, but if we play in that manner we give ourselves a chance. Sometimes against an experience group of people we are going to find life a bit tough.”
The manager had no complaints about either of the two goals scored by the Gills.
He said: “The first goal was a great strike, he hit it so sweetly and there is not much we could do about it.
“Early on in the game that is a massive tough for our team, but we stood strong and nearly got back in the game, but we didn’t have that little break in the penalty box we had on Tuesday.
“The second was a great turn and finish, if our players had done it we would have been praising them to the roof tops.
“Sometimes you just have to put your hands up and say they have done better than us in those two incidents, but I have no grumbles about how my team responded.”
Unfortunately the second goal led to the injury of Garry Kenneth, and Joe Anyinsah also had to leave the field with a hamstring problem.
“Garry Kenneth has done his knee and is on crutches at the moment, which is a great shame. I thought Tom Parkes was excellent in midfield and I had to put him at the back.
“I thought he was excellent today, he is a leader in the team, and I am going to need a few more. Joe Anyinsah felt his hamstring tight, so I am pleased we don’t have a game on Tuesday.”
The manager says that a striker is a priority and has promised supporters he is doing his best for the club, and will continue to do so.
He said: “A striker is a priority, as we are a bit light. We have some bright players, but we have to be a bit cuter with our football.
“Our hands are tied a little bit, and the more senior players missing from the team, the harder they are to replace.
“I will be straight back to work to see what players may be available. I have talked to a lot of players and agents and I have to make decisions, it is a bit of a juggle, but I am used to that.
“There is a lot to be done, and little time to do it in, but I promise to the supporters that I will do my very best, and so will my team.”
The manager confirmed that it is very unlikely Cian Bolger will be returning to the club, but there is still a chance we could see Matt Lund back.
“I made a bid for Cian and it was below what they expected, they wanted too much money and we said no.
“I had a call with John Rudge at Stoke, and there is another club that has come in for Matt, but they are prepared to let him go on loan as I understand it, so it could be resolved next week with a yes or a no.”
And Dave Clarkson and Jim Paterson could be back in contention next week.
“We think Dave Clarkson is a week away, and I have seen Jim Paterson out there running strong, and I am pleased we have no midweek game as it gives us another five or six days to get them fit.
“They are senior boys and it is important to increase the seniority in the group.
“There is a lot of endeavour from the younger guys, who are massively willing, but when they are put in the firing line I need a bit of knowledge and know how, and those two guys have that.”
And next up is another tough test for Rovers – a trip to Fleetwood.
John said: “Fleetwood are another good team, and they have spent a bit of money, so it will be a tough fixture, but I will go home and sleep tonight as my boys have done everything they can to go and win the game.
“Today that little bit extra in the final third was missing, if we can improve that, we will see if we can give Fleetwood a tough game.”
And the final word was for the fans. “They have had some tough times, but I promise them we are trying our best.
“They are young boys that need help and support. If the boys are feeling sorry they don’t give themselves the best chance and if the supporters are grumbling we don’t have the best chance. If everyone is pulling in the same direction that is the best way.”
For the full interview visit Gas Player