By Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips
Hello and welcome to whatever edition of something for the weekend I am on. It`s not been a good week has it? As I write the weather is atrocious and some of the forecast isn`t great and who knows whether Saturday`s game will go ahead. It not happening might not be a bad thing right now with our current situation.
Last Saturday`s defeat against Rochdale certainly wasn`t needed. We took the lead through a David Clarkson penalty and then it all appeared to go wrong again. We just cannot keep the ball out of our net and we aren`t exactly free scoring either. There was a plus in the return of Danny Woodards, but once again we let ourselves down with poor discipline and compounded are problems with Gary Kenneth and Eliot Richards receiving their marching orders.
This led us in to Tuesday and quite frankly I wasn`t confident and judging by comments from fellow Gasheads, many others weren`t either. You could say we duly delivered as we proceed to get stuffed 4-0. Matters were made worse with Tom Parkes being stretchered off injured to add to the list of unavailable players, which keeps getting worse now that Neil Etheridge has been recalled. I didn`t particularly have a problem with Sam Walker when Etheridge was brought in, and despite some of Neil`s saves we haven`t exactly tightened up. It`s probably not a massive loss in terms of other areas that need reinforcing, but just an example of the luck we are getting in our situation.
A late addition to this column and the Rovers squad is defender Guy Branston. Welcome Guy and I hope you can bring some good luck and help plug a few holes in our defence and the squad as a whole. I know some people have not been enamoured with his signing, but right now we need anyone we can get to help dig us out of the mess we currently face.
Weather permitting this Saturday sees us host Bradford at The Mem and every game we have at the moment is must win. Heaven forbid we should find ourselves bottom of the table. My memory of that horrible season where we were saved by one up, one down and a woeful Halifax team is pushed to the back of my head. Does anyone remember if we were ever actually 92nd of 92? It`s not nice to comprehend and we must try and be positive but that is the reality. There are plenty of points to play for at this point in time, but we must not get bogged down here if teams above us pick up points as the pressure and nerves will become worse and a hard situation to get out of will be become more difficult. Bradford currently sit fifth and it won`t be an easy game, but then no game is going to be easy right now. We need something, anything from this game before we head to Wycombe next week for an even bigger game given our positions and the abandonment of the original fixture.
To finish I would like to try and be positive amongst the doom and gloom and hopefully perk anyone up about our plight. We haven`t been helped by injuries; yes that can be taken as an excuse and I certainly don`t want to excuse anything, but I don`t think anyone can deny injuries have disrupted team selections. As I said above silly suspensions have compounded this and that is something the manager must address and clamp down on. I do believe we have some good players here. Kenneth, Clarkson certainly bring ability to the squad and hopefully Danny Woodards will come back in and show what he is capable of when fully fit. Broghammer has shown some pace and ability. I like the look of Matt Lund, he has an engine and will get his foot in and I am praying we can keep Tom Eaves come January. Hopefully we can get a settled team out and hope it can click together and start picking up points as soon as possible and pulling away from the bottom of the table.
Let`s make no mistake the rest of the season is going to be hard work and we can all moan and grumble on message boards, the pub or even the bars at the game. But when we step on to the terrace (or into our seat) like when the players cross the white line, then we have to give it our all and get behind the team for 90 minutes and do our bit to spur the team on.
Get down The Mem and get behind the boys. UTG!
Simon ‘Sprout` Phillips