By Gerry PrewettTonight Bristol Rovers entertain their visitors from Herfordshire, Stevenage, licking their wounds after the setback of a 2-1 defeat at Crawley Town on Saturday. A poor opening and a mad two minutes cost Rovers a game they could easily have won.
Stevenage’s Teddy Sheringham has challenged his team to start a winning run tonight, "We do need to start putting wins on the board, there's no doubt about that. That's two [clean sheets] in three so from a positive point of view it's another point in a tough period. We've got a couple of injuries, but we've got a nice big squad and I've got a lot of good players in the squad. If we need to call on different people, we will do.”
"It's a tough time when you play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday in this league, but everyone has got to do it so we'll get ourselves ready and we'll make sure we're all ready for Bristol on Tuesday.”
Following the Play-Off semi-final loss last season Boro have striuggled to dfind their form in this campaign. It took them four starts to record their first win and after beating Plymouth on 5th September they didn’t secure maximum points until they defeated Wycombe on 17th October, 8 games later. They also suffered a 5-1 home mauling by Oxford at the end of October. Currently in 20th spot Borough have the equal worst defensive record in the Division.
That flow of goals conceded was stemmed on Saturday when they drew 0-0 at home to high flying neighbours Luton Town, despite that it has left them without victory in six games and just one win in eleven. Boro striker Armand Gnanduillet wasted the best chance of the first half when he shot wide from inside the box.
Luton twice went close after the break, as Josh McQuoid had an effort cleared off the line and Danny Green fired a free-kick against the crossbar. The away team’s Paul Benson then missed from close range, before he was then shown an 86th minute red card for a two-footed challenge. The game ended with 7 minutes of added time.
After the game Sheringham commented, "It was end to end stuff. Could've gone either way. Your hearts in your mouth one minute and then you're like 'go on get up the other end. I thought they had a 10-minute spell in the second half where they got on top a little. But certainly not in the first half. It felt like a pretty even game to me.”
"I didn't see an awful lot of the sending off. It didn't look like it had an awful lot in it. It is what it is these days. To me that's not a sending off but these day it is."
The news from Stevenage is that new loan goalkeeper Harry Voss and striker Jamille Matt are both available for selection. Dean Parrett was missing at the weekend and remains doubtful with a thigh injury while Finland international goalkeeper Jesse Joronen is still receiving treatment on his thigh at his parent club Fulham.
Midfielder Michael Tonge will be available after completing his three-match suspension but Dave McAllister (knee) and Ryan Johnson (ankle) remain out.
Sheringham has formed a friendship with Luton and former Gas manager John Still after they attended a lunch together and knows the experienced former Dagenham & Redbridge boss is one of the old masters of management.
"He's found that secret formula of getting results and moving on and getting that consistency in his players," Sheringham said, "We had a lunch at the start of the season, we have mutual friends. It was nice to sit there and chat to a manager who has been there and done it.
"He's a very experienced manager. That's why he's still in the job. He's very good. His team play the way they do and they don't change what they do. But they are very efficient in what they do. They are paying a lot of money over there. They have got a lot of good players. Their expectancy levels are very high. We have to learn how to get that consistency here."