BRISTOL ROVERS return well-rested to welcome the MK Dons to the Memorial Stadium this Saturday, writes Steve Knowlson.

With no game last Saturday, most of the rest of the league played as normal and results were kind to Rovers who only slipped one place to eighth - just a point shy of the playoffs after our enforced break.

After a shaky start, the team has grown into this season’s campaign embarking on an unbeaten league run which stretches back to August 31. Undefeated in September, Rovers drew with Gillingham and Accrington and won against Lincoln, Wimbledon and Rotherham, moving steadily up the league in the process.

Gas boss Graham Coughlan rode out early season criticism after his team delivered some insipid performances back in August, but since then the squad has grown in confidence and gelled impressively.

Much of this success has come as a result of Jonson Clarke-Harris’s goals. The marksman now has seven league goals to his name and is proving to be as much a handful for opposing defences as he is a talisman for the Rovers faithful. Even when he appears to be on the periphery of games Clarke-Harris has an unerring knack of finding a finish from somewhere.

This has made him one of the hottest properties in League One with a number of Championship sides interested in signing him so it’s essential that we retain his services for the season if we’re to take the next step up and challenge for promotion.

But it’s not just in attack that improvement has been evident. The new back three of Tony Craig, Alfie Kilgour and Tom Davies have formed a solid understanding, Anssi Jaakkola in goal has got better and better and the wing backs are foraging forward and supplying plenty of crosses for our strikers.

In addition, midfield dynamo Abu Ogogo has been a revelation with his tireless running, tenacious tackling and willingness to get forward. All in all, the side has a balanced look with players knowing their jobs and fighting for the shirt.