Bristol Rovers fans' panel: Where John Ward needs to strengthen squad

First published in Yate and Sodbury Sport Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , assistant editor

JOHN Ward was made to wait for his Rovers’ return as heavy rain forced Saturday’s game against Rotherham to be postponed.

With Barnet winning on Friday evening, Rovers slumped to the bottom of the table and spent Christmas propping up the rest of the league.

But the postponement may turn out to be a blessing in disguise if we have a stronger squad when we come to face the Millers in the rearranged game.

At least Ward has been given more time to work with the players and analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the unit he has inherited.

Hopefully he will have seen that we need to improve in the goalkeeper, midfield and attack positions. Bolger is due to return soon to central defence following his injury lay-off. With Kenneth and Parkes also competing for positions we should be well covered there, while Paterson and Woodards are likely to remain as full backs.

It is a pity that Lee Brown has fallen out of favour this season as at one time he looked a highly accomplished full back. Under Ward he should be given a fresh start and a chance to impress.

Michael Smith is another who was not utilised to his full potential as he has the makings of a quality right-sided midfielder and deserves a regular start.

With Broghammer on the left and Gill in midfield, we are just lacking another experienced central midfielder.

In the attack department, much depends on whether we can extend Eaves’ loan spell from Bolton. If we can then Clarkson could be the ideal foil alongside him, while hopefully Eliot Richards will also be reinvigorated under the new manager.

With the addition of about three new players the squad will have a stronger look to it and should have enough quality to move away from the relegation zone.

The Pirates are due to play Aldershot on Boxing Day and then make the short trip to Cheltenham on Saturday.

If the Gas could return with three points from one of those games it would lift spirits and confidence for the battle ahead.

Happy New Year to all Gazette readers. Do you agree with Jeff’s views? Have your say below.

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