A chat with the gaffer
Although Saturday’s postponement allowed a couple of players to gain a bit of extra fitness, the manager will now be without John-Joe O’Toole for the rearranged fixture.
The midfielder’s loan spell runs out on April 2nd, so only has two more games with the Gas.
John Said: “Sometimes the postponements help, sometimes they don’t. I think the previous ones helped us to re-galvanise the squad a recruit a little bit in January.
“This one is different, it helped people like Joe Anyinsah and Fabian Broghammer to get fitter, but we will probably lose John-Joe O’Toole for the rearranged game.
“We have two more games with John-Joe, he has done really well and I am sure the home crowd will give him a good send off on Saturday, and I am sure he will want to do well for us.
“We knew on Thursday night that it was a big doubt, so we were able to get a training session in on Friday morning, and it saved us and the supporters travelling.”
After a hectic period the extra rest may have done the team good as they now head into another busy month until the end of the season.
John said: “We have just been through a very hectic period, and if you can get on a good run, which we have done, it gives people a lift.
“If we can get a good start over the Easter weekend we will deal with whatever comes up. The players are happy playing, you just hope you don’t get too many injuries and problems.
“Everyone is raring to go for the final push, and we know where we stand. If we can be successful no one minds playing so many games.”
And the manager has an affinity with this weekend’s opposition, but he will be putting his personal feelings to one side until after the game.
He said: “I scored my first league goal against York many years ago and I had my first managerial job at York so there is an affinity there.
“But come Saturday I have to try and put a team out to beat them, and then hope they stay up.
“I have allegiances here and I have to make sure Bristol Rovers are in good shape. But I would be sad to see them in trouble, and I hope they can survive it.”
Joe and Fabian are both back fit, and Oli Norburn could be back in contention for the weekend if he continues to make progress.
The manager is also having to hold back Matt Harrold, who is raring to make a come back following his ACL injury.
John said: “Joe and Fabian would have both been in the squad for Saturday, but it doesn’t hurt them to have a little bit of extra time to get their strength back, so they will be ok.
“Oli Norburn wouldn’t have been fit for the Bradford game, but if he can improve well this week, we will see if we have a chance for next week.
“Matt Harrold just wants to get back out there, he is knocking on the door, and he just wants to join in.
“We have got right to the last stages with him and he is in great shape and is an excellent professional. We have to be spot on with him, because the last thing we want is for him to break down.
“We are looking after an enthusiastic footballer, which is great, but care and consideration come first. He has a great attitude, and it rubs off on other people.
“He is in the dressing room at every home game and he is out on the training ground when he can, and he is a big presence around the place and his attitude rubs off on some of the younger players we have.”
And tomorrow night Rovers will be fielding a strong squad in the GFA Senior Challenge Cup game against Yate.
John said: “I have some pros that need a game, people like Clayton McDonald and Oumare Tounkara, they need games and we haven’t been able to give them too many 90 minutes.
“I am close to getting a squad of professionals for the game, as they need to play football. We have to get people in good shape.”
For the full interview visit Gas Player