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Club News


24 April 2015

By Nathan Bees

I cannot actually bring myself to discuss what happened at Dover Athletic last week.

I am 100% sure we have all re-lived the 90 minutes in our minds hundreds of times and imagined what could have been, so going back over it again now is merely prolonging the agony.

No, this week's blog is going to be full of positivity and optimism because the automatic promotion dream is still alive. The title could still be ours
by full-time tomorrow and that is what we have to remember to ensure the atmosphere at The Mem is electric from start to finish.

Even in a worst case scenario where we do miss out on the crown, we still have a terrific chance of fulfilling our ambition of earning an immediate promotion back into the Football League. The play-offs may not have been our ideal route to promotion, but if we embrace the challenge as we have done the rest of the season, we can go on to win them.

Let's not dwell on that just yet though. Instead, let's look ahead to welcoming Alfreton Town to Bristol and enjoy the excitement that is building ahead of what is a huge weekend for the club.

The game is a complete sell-out, which is incredible, and with less than 100 tickets sold to Alfreton fans in the South Stand, all four sides of The Mem will be packed with Gasheads. It should help to create an atmosphere unlike any other we have experienced before at a home game; there will be blue and white all around the ground and it is going to feel like a massive occasion.

There is a pressure that comes with games of this stature, but I don't think the lads will be too nervous about it because it isn't our title to lose. If it was then I could understand them feeling the heat in front of a massive crowd, but we go into the game with no expectation and just have to approach it as we do any other. It is a tactic that has stood us in good stead so far and I can see no reason why that will not continue tomorrow.

That isn't me being disrespectful to Alfreton - I know full well that it is just as important for them to win the game as it is for us - but we are a better team and if we put them under pressure from the off I think we will win the game. Defensively we will have to be switched on and not go too gung-ho, however I have no doubt that taking the game to them is our best bet.

If we can get into an early lead whilst Barnet are 0-0 against Gateshead (or 0-1 down!) the pressure at The Hive will intensify greatly as the BT Sport cameras watch on. Given the way in which The Bees have buckled at other times over the course of the season, they may be inclined to crumble again should they hear that in the live table they have dropped down to second.

Okay, so I might be clutching at straws slightly, but it would definitely have an impact (even if only slightly) and it is something that we can do to make their lives that bit more difficult.

Gateshead are a decent side and whilst they may have nothing tangible left to play for, they will sense any Barnet nervousness and try to exploit it. There has been a lot of 'they will be on their holidays' talk, but who wants to get beaten in front of the watching nation on the final day of the campaign?

There are contracts and transfer moves to play for, so it certainly isn't cut and dry that Barnet will stroll to victory, not by any stretch of the imagination.

As Darrell Clarke has maintained throughout the week, there are still likely to be a few more twists and turns during the 90 minutes ahead and it could go either way. For me, that is worth getting excited about.

How many seasons have we had where we have gone to matches with confidence in our side? How many seasons have we had where match days weren't a chore but actually really enjoyable? How often have we been in with a chance of promotion, let alone the title, on the final day?


I am proud of the team and the management for the way they have come together to give us Gasheads something we want to get behind and support - for the first time in years - and I think they deserve the happy ending as much as we do.

The lads will want to end the year on a high note regardless of what happens afterwards and I am thoroughly looking forward to getting to The Mem and seeing how the evening unfolds.

With Bristol Rovers you just never know how things are going to pan out, so all we can do is enjoy the day, head to the ground in good spirits and see what happens. Whatever will be will be.

Come on Rovers, come on you blues!

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