Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bristol Rovers 0-1 Dagenham & Redbridge (League Two)

What else can I add following the week-long post-morterm that has taken place since last weekend's embarrassing 1-0 defeat to Dagenham? We rarely looked like scoring and even against poor opposition we seem incapable of defending efficiently. The poisonous atmosphere that surrounded the Mem this time last year during Paul Buckle's tenure wasn't present as most people quite like Mark McGhee, but their was dissatisfaction aired at the final whistle. The players left the pitch to choruses of 'what a load of rubbish' and 'we want our Rovers back', with 40 or so Gasheads staying behind beyond the final whistle to vent their frustrations to the board of directors.

Wayne Brown departing the club
The hopes of many was that McGhee would be relieved of his duties after yet another shocking performance, but this didn't materialise and chairman Nick Higgs has publicly backed his under-fire manager. Both have admitted there needs to be considerable strengthening done in January and without it I can't see how we can find it within us to win football matches. To help make space for incomings we'll inevitably see some comings and goings as loan and short-term contracts expire around the new year. In fact, the first departure of January has already been announced as Wayne Brown has turned down a new contract with the club. It is thought to have been another short-term deal as he has done little to suggest he deserves anything longer. His Rovers rejection comes as he is in favour of a long-term move to Finland, where he will link up with his former loan club TPS Turku. He will depart in January at the expiry of his contract.

I won't lose any sleep over this one. He showed glimpses of ability and he is a thoroughly likeable guy but I struggle to recall any positive contributions that he has made in his 2 and a half years with us. He has scored the odd goal in between his spell of injuries but never displayed the attacking midfield prowess we all hoped he'd bring. His work-rate could never be questioned though, he always gave his best for the club and supporters respect that. He is still available for our league games in between now and the new year so Gasheads will get the chance to wish him well in our home game against Rotherham in 9 days time.

Question marks loom over Guy Branston and Matt Lund's future, as well as goalkeeper Sam Walker's. All 3 are on loan for the next couple of weeks before they are due to return to their parent clubs and it remains to be seen whether MM will try to extend them. Tom Eaves, on the other hand, is a dead cert in terms of McGhee trying to keep him until the end of the season as he has been very good since joining in September. The decision lies in the hands of Bolton gaffer Dougie Freedman and I'm sure Rovers are hoping uncle Lennie Lawrence will do us a favour and let us keep him. The other short-term contract coming to an end shortly is that of Derek Riordan. The Scottish striker came with considerable hype. Many thought we had pulled off a masterstroke and anticipated plenty of goals from the former Hibernian and Celtic forward. Unfortunately he hasn't delivered as he has failed to score in 12 appearances so far and he has been arguably our most disappointing signing of the season. McGhee still seems to think there's something in him and that he could be a success for the club now he's put his court case behind him but that remains to be seen. He has stated that Deeks needs to 'show more' and prove 'he wants to be here' before we can discuss extending his contract.

It's funny isn't it? We all feared when we signed him that we wouldn't extend his contract because he'd score an abundance of goals before departing for a bigger club - oh how wrong could we be?!

There will be a lot of changes over the next 6 weeks, all done with the intention of saving the club from relegation to the Blue Square Premier. The priority right now has to be about on the field issues but if results do not improve immediately we could also see changes in the managerial department before Christmas is done with. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

York City away on Saturday... I hope the players can pull their fingers out, play as a team and win 3 points.

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