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Club News


28 March 2013

Manager on Saturday's game

John Ward and his players are looking forward to getting back to action this weekend when York City visit the Memorial Stadium.

The team got a break last weekend when the trip to Bradford City was called off, but now they head into another busy period of games.

The manager said: “The players are fine with the Easter games, it is a time for supporters to go and get games, and it allows people to have their weekend holiday period with a bit of sport thrown in. 

“We are chomping at the bit a little bit to get a game in because we missed a game last Saturday, and the players are keen to play.

“The break has been welcome; the games were coming thick and fast.

“We didn’t grumble as we were getting decent results, but we have now got 30 days with another seven games in and we have to get them in thick and fast, so at least we have had some practice.”

John began his managerial career at York and has fond memories of his time there, but his focus is on getting his team ready for another big game.

He said: “I look back fondly at my time at York, as it was my first managerial job and a really big experience. It was good to get the experience.

“I left York City to come to Bristol Rovers, so there is a link all the way through. 

“It is a huge game for them, and if we go into the game thinking we have won four home games in a row which has been lovely, if we get complacent, we will get sorted out, and that is something we don’t want to happen.

“We better be in the right frame of mind, as the game is very important to us, as it is to York City.”

The break has given a few players the opportunity to get back to full fitness.

John said: “I have some people back available, we had the game in the Gloucester Cup in midweek and Fabian Broghammer got himself a good hour and Oumare Tounkara got 70+ minutes, which he hasn’t had in a while.

“Joe Anyinsah is back fit and available, so we have people in good shape.

“I haven’t seen some of those players play before, and it was a proper competitive game. It was all about attitude from our team.

“It was a good mix of young and senior players, and each and every one of them showed the right spirit, attitude and approach to the game.

“If and when I need to put them in and around the first team, I know that is what I am going to get, and I am really pleased with that.”

And John-Joe O’Toole plays his last two games for the club this weekend, and the manager admits that he would like him back.

“He has got another year contract at Colchester at the moment, and it won’t have gone unnoticed how well he has done for us

“I am like all supporters, and would like to see him back, but I cannot make any guarantees and neither can John-Joe.

“John-Joe has enjoyed it here, he knew he was going to play, and he has taken the bull by the horns and shown that he wants to be part of what is going on.”

And after the home game against York, Rovers travel to Dagenham on Easter Monday with the aim of climbing as high up the table as possible.

John said: “Dagenham will be a test, they are all tests.

“You could look at the fixtures we have left and say we have people in the bottom part of the division – but people have played us when we have been in the bottom part of the division and found us a tough prospect.

“All these games are tests for every player. If even one of players think we have cracked it and we are ok then he becomes the weakest person around the group.

“I want to finish top half of the table, I don’t want to be just looking at one more win. We need to be trying to finish as high as we can, these games are all very big for us.”

And the manager admitted he has been turned down by a couple of players in the lead up to the loan window closing.

He said: “I have tried; I was turned down on a couple players yesterday who I tried to get in to bolster the squad.

“I am still having a little look today but probably without as much enthusiasm. We have a couple of players back, and we should have Oli Norburn back next weekend for the final five games.

“So if I cannot bring in a new face today then I am not going to lose sleep over it. We will crack on and try and do the best we can with the group we have, because it is a good group.”

For the full interview visit Gas Player.

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