ROVERS’ goalscoring problems were again laid bare as they crashed out of the FA Cup at Tranmere on Saturday.

Although the side put in a spirited display, with little to choose between us and our League Two opponents for much of the game, the inability to put the ball in the back of the net proved costly.

The Pirates threw caution to the wind during the last half hour as they went in search of an equaliser but all the pressure counted for nothing as we failed to score and exited the cup at Round One. A penalty was all that separated the sides, making it all the more frustrating that we could not have at least secured a replay.

There were some positives from the performance, notably the return of Ryan Brunt to the starting line-up after his loan spell at York. He has been working on his fitness and sharpness during that time away and if he can now add goals to his repertoire, he could force his way back into Darrell Clarke’s plans.

We know what he is capable of and if he can recapture the form he showed in his first few months with the Gas before he was struck down by injury he could solve the striker conundrum.

Clarke has made enquiries about proven goalscorers such as Lee Hughes and Matt Tubbs, but neither deal looks like coming to fruition any time soon and it is up to Brunt to seize this opportunity. Lyle Della-Verde, who joined for a month’s loan from Fulham last week, had an impressive debut at Prenton Park and could provide the midfield creativity and spark we have also been lacking.

The defeat could prove a blessing in disguise as we now concentrate on the league and prioritise getting out of the Conference.

Rovers returned to league action on Tuesday night with a trip to struggling Alfreton Town.

We moved up to fourth but our goal-shy attack again drew a blank as the contest finished goalless.

Hopefully our strikers will be firing on all cylinders when Kidderminster Harriers visit the Mem on Saturday.