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Club News


27 January 2014

A look at tomorrow's opponents

Bristol Rovers will be hoping that tomorrow in the words of local band Stackridge they can “Do the Stanley”.  Having beaten high flying Newport on Saturday the opportunity to climb rapidly towards mid-table presents itself with the visit of Accrington Stanley.

Whilst Rovers and Newport battled the elements to keep going on Saturday, Stanley's derby game against Bury was called off by Referee Kevin Wright.

Stanley Boss James Beattie was in no doubt that it was the correct call, “I believe the right decision was made. The referee was asking for input from myself and Dave (Flitcroft) and there was standing water on the pitch, which is very unusual for this pitch," he said. 

"There was more forecast rain and it wasn’t a case of the water being in just one place it was all over the pitch. You could see that from the demonstrations of the ball rolling.

"We didn’t want a game to be won on a mistake because it’s the referee we would’ve been going to if that happened. I believe, as did Dave, that the referee made the right decision."

In their last game Stanley visited Chletenham Town and came back with all 3 points. George Bowerman gave the reds the lead with just 15 minutes gone when he headed in Nicky Hunt's cross, after an attempted clearance by Matt Richards.  Then just before half-time Bowerman turned provider, with Luke Joyce heading in from close range. 

Jamie Cureton got one back for the Robins on 72 minutes with a powerful shot, but the visitors left with all three points. It was Stanley’s 4th away win in 6 games.

Speaking after the game Beattie described his captain Luke Joyce as an unsung hero, "It is not often he gets up there but it proved to be clinical, Luke was very pleased to score and I am sure the lads were pleased for him too. He will dedicate it to his new-born daughter." 

Beattie also praised Bowerman for "repaying the faith shown in him" after the striker was selected ahead of former Manchester United man Danny Webber.

"Luke is an unsung hero because he is in there week in, week out - doing a great job for us as skipper," he added, "But George put in a great performance and that is what I wanted from him.

"I spoke to Danny before the game and informed him he won't be playing. He was obviously disappointed but he understood and respects my decisions. It is great for me to say the decision was justified." 

Having won for the first time in five games, skipper Joyce says the manager's cool persona allowed the side to pick up all three points, "He is a calm person and very professional. He oozes the calmness and belief in us which translates on the pitch," said Joyce.

"We don't get too frantic, we are desperate to hang on to the three points and sometimes in that emotion you can make mistakes and not be switched on. When things aren't going for us, we want to talk to each other, enjoy playing and not get too worked up and stressed about it."

Rovers and Stanley have played one another 8 times before. The very first time was an FA Cup tie on 14 December 1929 at Eastville, the home team running out 4-1 winners. Four years later at the same stage Rovers visited Peel Park and came back out of the Cup, losing 1-0. 

Fast forward over 70 years before the rejuvenated Stanley were back into the League after their 1961 demise and visited Bristol once again. The very first league meeting again took place in December 23 2006. Once again Rovers hit 4 goals but this time Stanley were scoreless. The return game in Lancashire on 6 March ended in a 1-1 tie.

When Rovers visited the Crown Stadium on 5 November 2011 little did Paul Buckle realise that it was to be the start of fireworks for him. A defeat that day was the beginning of a run of 8 games during which Rovers were to pick up just 2 points and culminated in his sacking.

Rovers finished their 2011-12 home programme with a flourish as they disposed of Stanley with a 5-1 victory. Last season Rovers lost both games  1-0 and again 2-1 at the Crown Stadium in October.

Stanley Boss Beattie has found himself in hot water with the League regarding his coaching qualifications. Beattie in return hit out at the fine imposed on the club, claiming: “It could have crippled us!” 

The Reds received a £20,000 penalty, with £15,000 of that amount suspended, for employing Beattie as boss without achieving the UEFA B licence. As of June last year, the coaching badge is a minimum requirement for any Football League manager. 

“Ultimately it’s our fault. We know it is, we’ve held our hands up, we’ve paid the fine,” said Beattie, who went up before the Football Disciplinary Commission (FDC).

But with special dispensation being shown towards Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, whose new head coach Tim Sherwood has not yet achieved the minimum UEFA Pro Licence for that level of football, despite holding a coaching role at the club for more than five years, the Stanley boss believes he and the club have been harshly treated. 

“If on the one hand you’re trying to promote young English managers and give them help, then on the other hand you’re trying to make an example of one that’s just got a job, who’s brand new to the job, at the poorest club in the country, lowest turnover, lowest budget, it doesn’t make any sense really,” said the 37-year-old, who is still registered as a player. 

“We tried to tell the Football League how the financial state of the club was, how it’s a struggle to survive week to week and the Football League’s recommendation was that the fine run into the tens of thousands, to which I just said ‘have you not been listening to anything we’ve said in the meeting’. 

“I told the chairman not to worry and that we’d sort it out because I was on my pathway and for them to say in their statement that I hadn’t shown any intent to do any coaching badges was not true.

"I had thought about doing my badges but I didn’t envisage my playing career to come to a stop as soon as it did.

“I was going to carry on playing. I still feel that I could carry on playing but I’m obviously very busy with running the team and running the club. I started on my pathway as soon as I got to know about this and I passed my Level 2 the other day and I’m now on my UEFA B Licence.

"I’ve put in place a structure where I will have my UEFA B licence by the May 1, if not sooner.”

Written by Gerry Prewett.

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