Keeper on the new season
Bristol Rovers' ‘keeper Steve Mildenhall believes that consistency is what is needed if his side is going to have a successful 2013/14 season.
The 34-year-old, who joined from Millwall this year, thinks that the players must believe that they can push for promotion. He said: “The quicker we can get that winning feeling in and get the momentum going, the better it will be for our campaign.
“We must believe. The first half of last season wasn’t too good and I think if the lads have got any doubts then they shouldn’t have because of what we achieved at the back end of last season, with our backs against the wall and under severe pressure.
“I think the lads need to look at that and believe the quality is there because we showed that with the run we had last year.”
He added: “The key is consistency, that’s the key in any division and in any sport.
“We have a youthful squad and there are a few of us older boys sprinkled around, but if we can get that consistency up then I don’t see why we shouldn’t believe that we can’t be at the right end of the table pushing for promotion.”
Mildenhall, who started his career at Swindon Town, has expressed his delight of the signing of John Joe O’Toole and believes that he is a brilliant signing: “We’ve been talking as a group for the last few weeks wondering what was happening and whether he was coming.
“He (O’Toole) was important to us last year when we had him, we know what he gives us and the quality he has on the ball, so to add him to the squad permanently and know he’s going to be here for a while it’s been brilliant and we can focus now on that first game.
The goalkeeper, who signed a two-year-deal with the Pirates in May, has voiced the importance of pre-season and how important it is to play good sides like Reading and Derby. He said: “The manager has said a few times we could have lower league teams and win six or seven nil, but I think it’s good to pit yourselves against higher opposition, it lets you know how you’re doing.
“I think people look at the results, but I don’t think in pre-season you can look too much into them, I’ve been involved in clubs where we won every game in pre-season and then not won in the first six and I’ve been a clubs where we’ve not won in pre-season games and then gone on to win the first 10 in the league.
“You need to take them for what they are, they’re there for fitness, to work on shape, and to make sure we get an overall idea of where we’re standing.”
On the Reading game, he added: “We’re all looking forward to it, it’s going to be a good game, they’ve got a lot to prove themselves with getting relegated from the Premier League so they’re going to want to have a good season and get back with a good manager down there.”
Rovers start their campaign against South-West rivals Exeter at St James’ Park in 8 days and Mildenhall has said it is vital to get the season off to a good start: “It’s always important to get that momentum going and that confidence; it’s a local derby and an away game, so it’s going to be a good one.
“Training has been good, obviously the hot weather hasn’t helped, thankfully the weather has broke and the rain has softened things up, but everyone is looking forward to getting the first game in now.”
He added: “Exeter are a very good footballing side, they’ve struggled to sign players and keep players on with the situation down there but they’re always a good footballing side no matter who they’ve got.
“It’s important to go down there and get confidence, you don’t want to lose the first game obviously but if we can get a good result then it will roll on into the next home game.”