Read the latest notes from Rovers Chairman Nick HiggsToday sees the start of a hectic period for us and all Football League teams.
It's said that the Christmas and New Year fixtures shape your season and that certainly appears to be the case for us this year. I believe that the five games we play between now and 2nd January will have a significant bearing on our final league placing.
Our last home game saw us record a convincing 3-0 win against Wycombe Wanderers. Following a fairly even first half, Matty Taylor weighed in with a superb second half hat trick to seal victory.
After the game, he was compared to Leicester City's Jamie Vardy, given his non league background and his goalscoring record. It's no surprise that comparisons are being made, or that questions are being asked in the media about the possibility of unearthing more talent from the leagues below.
The answer to that is a resounding yes, as we can point to Matty, Stuart Sinclair and James Clarke who are all experiencing their first taste of league football this season. The fact that they are here is down to manager Darrell Clarke for his belief in their ability and to the players themselves as they have worked so hard to achieve their dream of playing at this level.
Goalkeeper Lee Nicholls plays the final game of his loan spell today and I would like to thank him for his efforts whilst he has been with us. As one goalkeeper leaves, we prepare to welcome another one back. Will Puddy, whose last competitive game was the play off match at Wembley in May, returned to action for our reserves at Newport on Tuesday and, I'm pleased to say, suffered no reaction to the persistent groin injury that has kept him out of action for so long.
This time of year is a busy one off the pitch as well as on it and our players kicked off the festive season on Thursday when many of them went along to the Young Pirates Christmas Party. All of them, along with Directors, management team and staff will be attending our Annual Christmas Carol Service next Thursday when you are all invited to join us at St James' Church, Lockleaze, at 7.00pm.
I would like to send our best wishes to Alfie Kilgour, who suffered a head injury in our Academy game at Exeter last Saturday. I understand he is recovering well and would like to add my thanks to all who treated him following his injury, especially physiotherapist Steve Bissix and the Exeter City staff.
Finally, on behalf of myself and my fellow Directors and everyone at Bristol Rovers Football Club, I would like to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas.