Shortly after Graham Coughlan’s abrupt departure for Mansfield Town, Rovers CEO, Martyn Starnes, gave an interview where he reassured fans that “the wheels won’t come off” in the post-Coughlan era, writes Steve Knowlson.

Fast forward four weeks and the Rovers bandwagon is careering down the road out of control, with showers of sparks where the wheels once were.

When Coughlan left we were fourth in League One, with a game in hand on those around us, and in two cup competitions. Now we’re midtable, out of both cups and without a win in seven attempts under the new manager, Ben Garner. To cap a dismal week, Garner has been given indefinite leave of absence to deal with a family illness.

Garner wants to play a more possession-based, passing game in contrast to Coughlan’s direct style. It’s far too early to pass judgement on the new gaffer’s managerial skills as it will take a while to embed his new footballing philosophy, but the thing that’s worried me over the past four weeks is the lack of fight and character in the team.

When we conceded an early goal against Stevenage in the EFL Trophy last week, I never thought we looked like getting back into the match – there was little desire from a team clearly low on confidence. It was the same against Doncaster Rovers at the Mem last Saturday. We only had a single shot on target all game and that came more than an hour into the match.

The lack of goals is worrying – we haven’t scored from open play since Garner took over and have only found the net via set pieces three times in seven games. Jonson Clarke-Harris is a shadow of the goal machine we had at the start of the season and Tom Nichols has been told he can leave the club, despite being on the bench against Doncaster.

The dismal run of form continued in our FA Cup exit against Coventry last Tuesday – Rovers lost 3-0 and barely laid a glove on the hosts. We face top of the table Rotherham away this Saturday and I can’t see where our next goal is coming from.