Manager Preview | Matt Taylor on Wigan Athletic, Antony Evans, Kofi Shaw and finishing the season strongly


Matt Taylor is eager for Bristol Rovers to end the 2023/24 campaign on a high and claim victory away to Wigan Athletic. 

The Gas make the trip to the DW Stadium for the season finale on Saturday, seeking to claim another three points and leapfrog this weekend’s opponents in the final League One standings. 

Despite defeat at home to Peterborough last time out, manager Taylor could find plenty of positives with his side’s efforts, particularly in the second half, and is looking for Rovers to show their best across the pitch against the Latics. 

Central to those efforts will be the form of midfielder Antony Evans, who Taylor singled out for praise in his pre-match media interviews. Evans won the Rovers Player of the Season award on Sunday evening. 

The boss also talked about his side’s injury standings and U18s Player of the Season Kofi Shaw in Thursday’s press conference…



We want to finish the season strongly. We want to try and get to that 60 point mark, and finish 

above this weekend’s opponents. But we know it’s been a tough time too, in terms of inconsistency and results-wise, and I think there’s been a feeling of uncertainty around what’s to come at the end of the season. We’ve seen that in our performances at times and I think we’ve felt it. When one season ends, it’s amazing how quickly the focus will turn onto next season, but I want all of our focus on Wigan Athletic this weekend. 



I was really pleased with our second half performance against Peterborough. They’re such a strong team and we took the game to them, and I felt we had the best chances, and we should have really got level. To concede the second so late on changes the feel of how that home game ended, and that’s a real shame. 





Jack Hunt’s scan results showed there is a calf injury there. Connor Taylor is an interesting one. He damaged his hamstring in the first minute against Peterborough, but he has also had a knee complaint for a period of time now. The specialists have scanned the knee as well as the hamstring. 

The hamstring is serious enough as it is, but he’s actually having surgery to clear out his knee and have a trim of the cartilage and clean out the joint. It might have been affecting that hamstring as well. He’s probably played in a bit of pain and discomfort for too long now. He’s not been quite right. The hamstring is a six-to-eight week long injury and the recovery from the knee surgery is the same so it’s not set him back in anyway, but we just need to be mindful when he comes back for pre-season. 



Wigan are a team in relatively good form. They’ve had their own ups and downs this season but it would be great to finish the season on a positive note. 

They’ve had a difficult season off the field as much as on it but they’ve got a young, vibrant team and have found some form in the last couple of weeks. It will be a really good test. 





Antony Evans was fully deserving of winning Player of the Season. He’s been our stand-out player. He’s got stronger and stronger as the year has gone on and I think we’ve worn him down, given he’s played so much. He’s played through the pain barrier at times, as well as the odd injury.

He’s been a stalwart for myself and the football club and the recognition he got in terms of awards, I’d have liked more for him. His efforts certainly warrant that. 



Kofi Shaw is with the first team this weekend, in terms of numbers and opportunity. He’ll be looking to get some game time this weekend and he’s certainly one we’re excited about. He’s a talented boy and he’s trained with us a lot in the last few months. We have seen first hand what he is capable of.

I don’t think we can expect next season for him to be his breakthrough season. I think that might be a little bit too soon. He’s not played men’s football yet and, depending on pre-season, we still feel a loan might be the best route forward in terms of reaching our first team. However long that is, we’ll certainly support him through that. 

He’s an exciting player and once his physical development comes on top of his game, we’re going to have a serious player and I can’t wait for our supporters to see him play.

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