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WARD - IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME COMING

4 November 2013

Manager on Saturday's win

John Ward was delighted to see his side pick up their first away win of the season against high flying Oxford on Saturday.

A fantastic performance and a penalty from John-Joe O’Toole combined to give Rovers all three points at the Kassam Stadium.

John said: “It is nice to get the win, as it has been a long time coming for everybody.

“I have been really pleased for my players, especially the young ones who have probably been wondering where the next win is going to come from, as they have not seen this before in their careers.

“There was a nice feeling after the game, and a nice crowd from Bristol and they saw not only a good win, but a good performance from their team.

“We hope we can turn a corner, but we have to prove that over the next couple of games, and make sure that standard is taken into the next two games.”

The manager was particularly pleased to pick up a clean sheet for the second game in a row.

He said: “We have done a lot of work on defending in training, and it is nice when it pays off.

“Darrell Clarke has taken a lot of responsibility of looking after the back four, and I step in and do team defending.

“We all work together as a staff and a group of players, and the two clean sheets have been a confidence boost for everyone, but especially those guys who have worked hard at it.

“We still need to improve our goalscoring side of things. The shape we played in the last couple of games has benefited the team, as we are tougher to get through, but we now need to develop it at the other end.”

He also had words of praise for Chris Beardsley, who led the line well for Rovers.

He said: "When you look at his goalscoring record it is not great, and you can question that if you don’t know the lad. But we in the club do know the lad, and we haven’t taken a gamble there.

"We have taken a player who is 29 years of age, wants to come and play, he knows the level and he knows what he can do above all else.

"He is a team player and on Saturday we saw exactly that. He also gives a little bit of breathing space to my other front boys and adds competition." 

John is now turning his attention to the FA Cup, and he hopes his team can take what they have learnt over the last few matches into that game.

He said: “We all want to get in the next round of the FA Cup, we can look back at what we have done, to see how we can put that into the game on Friday night to try and win that one.

“Friday night is a good game, with lights and a nigh atmosphere. There will be a good crowd, and they would like to see an FA Cup run.”

And the manager will be forced into making some changes for Friday night’s FA Cup clash, with defender Will Packwood cup tied and midfielder John-Joe O’Toole suspended.

John said: “Lee Brown and Matt Harrold are both training today, and if they week goes well for both of them, they could be in contention for Friday.

“They are not a direct replacement for the players who will be missing, but it is two more senior faces around the team, which is important.”

For the full interview, visit Gas Player.

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