Well I`m back after a weeks absence having been mega busy at work and finding time to put ‘words to paper` rather difficult. You`d think that over a fortnight I`d have plenty to write about but alas inspiration has been lacking. Our season is petering out in the final weeks as we look to secure at best a mid-table finish which would be quite good given the first half of the season we had and it can be rather hard to find much to talk about. However I am here and will endeavour to furnish you with some musings this week.
Last Saturday saw us pick up a good, if unspectacular home win against 4th placed Southend. It was a solid, hard working display against opposition that I was rather disappointed in given their position in the league and what a win could have done for them.
*Slight pause whilst I look up some stats*
Matt Harrold netted his 14 goal of the season, his third from the spot which is not a bad return given he has missed a few games for differing reasons over the season. Hopefully he can keep that sort of form next season, but what he and the team needs is a strike partner, a goal grabber. That position is going to be an important one to fill next season after sorting the defence and midfield. Personally I`d hope Elliot Richards could be that player, he looks to have an eye for goal. Whilst we have greatly improved under Mark McGhee a lot of work needs to be done on the team no matter how optimistic we might feel right now. Our defence has greatly improved, but the players we have been used our either on loan or out of contract in the summer and we really need to sort a solid base. Again in the midfield we have options, some under contact, some on loan, but we do seem to lack a bit of pace or drive and energy in the middle of the park.
Five changes were made to the team, some enforced, some not which was probably a few more changes than the manager probably would have liked to have made as we recorded a disappointing defeat. Gary Sawyer returned to the starting line-up (another defender out of contract) and loanee Aaron Downes returned to the bench. Hopefully this weekend we can reverse the defeat in the tough localish game against Swindon, who suffered a defeat in the Paint Pot final just under a week ago, after which manager Mr Di Canio was not entirely happy.
I know over recent years we have had a bit of history and trouble with Swindon, but I was surprised reading the likes of twitter how many Gasheads actually took joy in Swindon`s defeat in a competition generally no one cares about apart from the two finalists. I don`t particularly like Swindon Town and/or the Wiltshire constabulary much and I certainly won`t head to the county ground again in a hurry. That said I do not see them as rivals much unless they are a team in our division which they won`t be next season by the looks of it, but each to their own. The one thing interesting about Swindon though is their manager Paulo Di Canio, who is a bit of a marmite character, but that is what he is a character, something that is often lacking in the game. Ignoring some of his politics, he is certainly a straight talking manager and added entertainment on the touchline. In the game at the Mem watching him get irate as his full back kept taking foul throws was hilarious.
As said it should be a difficult game and if you are betting man much like myself you can get some decent odds on a Rovers win (Never stick them in an accumulator mind) as the bookies don`t see much outside of a home win. I am not expecting much result wise either, but it would be nice to see a decent performance and a few other players get a few minutes under their belts and to try and impress Mark McGhee. If you are travelling to the game, I hope your car/coach/minibus had enough petrol or Diesel to get you there and out of the land of roundabouts. Hopefully the sun is out and I can sit on the patio with the wireless and a few cans of refreshment. Either that or with my girlfriend away for the weekend, I have a free pass and might go and live in the pub and watch Sir Jeff and the boys.
Whatever you are up to, have a good one and UTG!
Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips