Goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall has today spoken of initial talks between himself and the club in regards to signing a permanent contract this summer. The 34 year old has been in outstanding form since joining on loan from Millwall in the new year and has been a major factor in our revival since then. His deal with the Lions expires at the end of June and Rovers have made no secret of their desire to persuade the experienced shot-stopper to sign for the club permanently.
Mildenhall, who has also been on loan at Scunthorpe United this season, is a West Country boy who originates from Wiltshire and he made no secret of the fact a return to the area was key in his decision to join us on loan. This stands us in good stead in our attempts to keep him and he has confessed that aside from locality, a 'bright future' is something else that makes the opportunity to stay 'enticing'. He's right, isn't he?
Considering the UWE Stadium is just two years away and the fact we have a manager who has transformed us from relegation certainties to a top half team who sit 5 points off the play-offs, we are certainly looking upwards. The positivity around the club is at a real high and the players seem to be enjoying the honour of representing Bristol Rovers, which is why the relationship between them and us is so strong right now.
With this in mind and the fact we are very close to making the top 7 with the players we already have here, promotion has to be a realistic goal next season. I'm sure Steve would want to be a part of that considering the potential the club has got. For John Ward it will be the first part of the jigsaw if he could retain the services of the best League Two goalkeeper and it should act as a catalyst in our bid to keep the crop of first team players who are out of contract. If we can do that, get rid of the dead wood and add 5 or so more then I think the sky's the limit in 2013/2014.
Still, let's not rule out this season just yet shall we? It all rests, realistically, on tomorrow night's huge game with fellow play-off hopefuls Bradford City at Valley Parade. The Bantams are in good form and on their own patch they are formidable opponents for anyone, so we can't underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead of us. If we can get a positive result then we'll have deserved it and I'd believe that anything was possible. Let's give it a good go Gas.