By Nathan Bees
I was critical of our league position, the debacle at Accrington Stanley and the general lack of attacking threat in last week's blog so it's only right that I praise the team for holding high-flyers Chesterfield to a goalless draw.
It may not have been attractive or full of goalscoring opportunities but given the fact the vast majority of our team are still kids it has to be considered a positive step forward.
It's very difficult in modern football to keep things in perspective when you see opposition supporters demanding instant success from their team. That behaviour distorts our perception of the situation here at Bristol Rovers, which is unfortunate. As a fanbase though it’s important we retain a sense of reality.
Nobody can tell me that my interpretation of the Accrington performance was too harsh because we did play very poorly that night and I felt that as supporters we deserved to have our say.
However, I believe that if you're happy to give criticism you should be just as quick to offer praise and considering we have one of the youngest teams in England our response on Saturday was strong.
The situation currently is that we have a huge dependence on youth and that's being magnified with the injuries and suspensions we have to our more senior players. We need to stay with them, support them and help them through this tricky spell.
We haven't got the finances to spend lots of money on new signings and we need to remember the young lads wearing the quarters need our patience, even when things aren't going right for them.
That's not to say we shouldn't be disheartened when we lose games and be content with our lowly position in the table.
Everyone associated with the club knows that's not good enough, including the players and coaching staff, but they'll be working hard to ensure that progress is made sooner rather than later.
They feel the pain in defeat, you've can tell by their demeanour’s at full-time, and eventually they'll get to grips with professional football in League Two.
As the likes of Lee Brown, David Clarkson, Mark McChrystal and Matt Harrold return to the team (and play at the same time) we should see a more confident, composed and attacking Bristol Rovers.
The problem is that we haven’t taken our chances when they have fallen for us.
The aforementioned returns of Clarkson and Harrold will hopefully address the problem, especially when they are fully fit, but the consensus in the dugout as well as the terraces is that we lack an older head at the front of the pitch.
The recent departures of Matt Gill to Exeter City and Matt Macey to Arsenal (best of luck to him) have freed up enough funds to recruit an experienced striker and the 'hard-working' Chris Beardsley is the man John Ward has chosen to lead the line.
He may not be a well-known figure to many of us - I certainly don't know an awful lot about him - but he was highly thought of at Stevenage and clearly caught JW's eye.
His experience will certainly help the team and he may be the player we've been lacking to bring others into play.
Good luck, Chris. Hopefully you enjoy your initial one month loan here.
If he's thrown in at the deep end this weekend against Oxford United then he will get a good idea of what lies ahead over the next few weeks.
We're playing the league leaders away from home in a fixture that is always keenly contested, and there will be a vociferous backing from Gasheads.
It's a difficult debut but it's the type of game that all players would want to play in and I'm sure Chris is chomping at the bit for a starting spot.
Last season we produced an incredible performance at the Kassam Stadium to win 2-0 and a similarly dogged but clinical showing is precisely what we need this time.
If we can combine the tenacity of last weekend's draw with Chesterfield and the attacking display we produced at Mansfield Town we give ourselves a fighting chance.
It’s a big game and one that I’m thoroughly looking forward to. I’m desperate for us to put our away hoodoo to bed and forget about the nightmare we endured in Lancashire 10 days ago.
Three points will make the table look an awful lot healthier and that will give everyone a huge lift going into our FA Cup tie next Friday night against York City at the Mem.
I turned 20 last weekend and would happily say a win would be the best present I’ve received - yes, it means that much!
Come on lads, give us all something to cheer.