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5 September 2013

John's Thursday press briefing

Rovers were back in training this morning following last night’s defeat at the hands of local rivals Bristol City in their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie at Ashton Gate.

A recovery session was needed for the players who started last night’s game but, as manager John Ward explained, this is nwhere preparations begin for Saturday’s League Two game at Plymouth.

“I think everyone is a little bit weary this morning, not to mention disappointed that we couldn’t find an equaliser last night and get ourselves through. At the same time, though, I take a great deal of solace from the way we played

“We did very, very, well on the night. To be honest, I think both teams played really well and it was an excellent game of football

“I have spoken to a number of people since the game ended and they have all said what a good game it was.

“We have set ourselves a standard now and it’s something we have try to take to Plymouth on Saturday.

“We have everyone in this morning, and while there are one or two bumps and bruises I don’t think there is anything that will prevent anyone from being involved on Saturday.”

Not for the first time since he arrived back at the club for a second stint as manager, John was keen to praise our supporters.

“I have to say that the support we received at Ashton Gate was terrific and they stuck behind us all the way through. When we arrived back at the Memorial Stadium, where a number of fans had watched the game on TV, there were people who were very complimentary about our performance.

“I’m sure we will be taking a good number of those supporters down to Plymouth and if we can produce the type of performance we did last night then there’s a good chance we will do well. We had a number of 
attempts at goal as we grew into the game at Ashton gate, and in the second half we looked more confident.”

The progress made by his side since January is something that pleases the manager.

“We have made a great deal of progress, which means we could be in for some exciting times. We will have our ups and downs, and we will have days like the one we experienced at Newport.

However, we are beginning to look stronger as a unit and picking up in terms of the way we want to play and we are getting good players back and fit.”

Plymouth won’t be too much of an unknown quantity, as John saw their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie against Cheltenham Town on Tuesday evening, a game they won on penalties after they had led 3-1 at one point in the game.

“They have made a couple of recent signings and are a strong team so will be a good test for us and we will have to be on our game if we are to return with all three points.

“They play good football and play through midfield and have two lively players up top who can cause problems for defenders. 

“They will pass and they will play some good football, and we will try to do the same just as we did in the second half last night.”

He was able to finish his interview with some good news regarding two more of his players who have been missing through injury.

“Ollie Clarke and Seanan Clucas are back in training and Ollie will definitely play in Tuesday evening’s match against Mangotsfield United. That game may be a little too soon for Seanan, even though he’s keen to play!”

John’s interview can be heard in its entirety on Gas Player

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