New Gas boss Ben Garner is still searching for his first win as Bristol Rovers manager after an indifferent start to his tenure in the Memorial Stadium hot seat, writes Steve Knowlson.

After a goalless draw away to Fleetwood, Rovers travelled to stadium:MK on New Year’s Day to take on League One strugglers MK Dons. We were looking to cement our place in the playoff positions but instead served up an absolute horror show of a performance to usher in 2020.

Russell Martin’s men overwhelmed the visiting Gas who were second best all over the pitch from start to finish. Apart from an early strike from Luke Leahy we offered next to nothing in attack as both Jonson Clarke-Harris and Tom Nichols were well-marshalled by the home defence, and to compound a disappointing day, our Finnish international goalkeeper, Anssi Jaakkola, was taken off after just 12 minutes with a dislocated shoulder.

Rovers ended up on the wrong end of a 3-0 beating and Garner emphasised after the game that reinforcements were needed in the January transfer window.

Rovers fared rather better in the third round FA Cup tie against League One promotion rivals Coventry City at the Mem last Sunday. An entertaining game saw us take the lead twice – through a Clark-Harris penalty and a Tony Craig header – only to be pegged back twice by a good Coventry side.

We were under the cosh for long periods but also carried a threat ourselves, with Ed Upson unlucky not to score when he saw his stunning volley come back off the woodwork. The game finished 2-2 and the teams go again at St Andrews – Coventry’s temporary new home – in order to qualify for a fourth round fixture against Birmingham City.

Those reinforcements Garner referred to have already begun arriving – a good sign that the board are prepared to back the new manager. Derby winger Jayden Mitchell-Lawson has joined on loan for the rest of the season and Rovers have actually spent some money, with young midfielder Josh Barrett signed from Reading for an undisclosed fee.

It remains to be seen whether we can keep hold of our star players before the month ends.