Society sees Valentine's Day as the most romantic day of the year - so much so that if you have a partner, it is deemed wholly unacceptable to not buy at least a card and a box of chocolates... by the women anyway. I don't usually embrace this day any more so than any other, I don't need to. Last year Valentine's Day was simply referred to as Monday, so theoretically, this year's should be known as Tuesday. But things are a little different in 2012, for I have a date in Shropshire.
Rovers take on play-off chasing Shrewsbury tomorrow evening looking to maintain their superb run of form that has seen 4 victories and a solitary draw in their last 5 games. Mark McGhee has overseen 3 wins in a row since he took over following Shaun North's caretaker role at the helm, and he'll be hoping his charges can travel to the Greenhous Meadow and give a good account of themselves. The Shrews are unbeaten at home this season and will be looking to return to winning ways after their 1-0 defeat at Torquay on Saturday, so it will be a seriously tricky game. Still, I'm very much looking forward to it.
Don't get me wrong, were Rovers not in action tomorrow night, I would adopt my normal view on Valentine's Day, but seeing as they are I'm hoping the lads can show their appreciation to the supporters by putting in a shift that sees us go home with 3 points. As always Gasheads will get behind the lads and encourage them to a superb away victory, although there will be 3 players on the pitch who won't receive the love of Rovers fans.
Former trio Mark Wright, Carl Regan and Joe Jacobson are current Shrews players and they'll be aiming to get one over on us. The former two were a troublesome pair that formed a clique within our squad at the time and it proved incredibly disruptive to our form in League One in 2009. Wright was loaned to tomorrow's opponents before being sold to them, whilst Regan was released at the end of the season. As for Jacobson, he enjoyed a better time at the club. He originally joined on loan during our infamous promotion year of 2007, and the Cardiff youngster put in a string of top performances on our route to Wembley in the Play-Off Final against... Shrewsbury Town. It's weird how these things work out, right? Anyway, things turned sour for JJ from there on in really. He was ineligible to play in that game as his loan deal could not be extended beyond 93 days and so he was forced to sit in the dugout. Despite that, he was signed permanently that summer but endured a disappointing time at League One level. He was released at the end of the campaign and joined Oldham Athletic - fair enough, decent move for him - but he completely blasted Rovers and the supporters when being interviewed by the Latics. Since then he's been disliked by Gasheads who feel they were treated disrespectfully by the former Pirate.
Still, no need to dwell on the past, we've moved on and so has he. Doesn't change the fact he and his former Rovers teammates will receive their fair share of friendly 'banter' tomorrow evening!
It should definitely be a good away day tomorrow evening and hopefully we can mark our first ever visit to the Grrenhous Meadow with a memorable victory. Let's keep this run going, Gas.
Mark McGhee's barmy army!