Bristol Rovers’ poor run of form continued last Saturday with a 3-0 loss at top of the table Rotherham United, writes Steve Knowlson.

With the continued absence of new manager Ben Garner who’s dealing with a family illness, Kevin Maher took charge of the squad up in South Yorkshire. He presided over a pretty decent first 45, with his players able to keep the impressive Millers at arm’s length for much of the half - and we even could have gone ahead just three minutes into the match when Jonson Clarke-Harris spurned a gilt-edged opportunity when well placed.

The second half was a completely different contest. The home side stepped up the tempo and scored two quick goals – first Vassell headed a fine cross pass stand-in Gas keeper Jordi van Stappershoef on the 51st minute and just two minutes later Smith netted Rotherham’s second.

Rovers had little in the way of a response and the game was sealed when Ogbene scored on the rebound just a few minutes from time. We carried little attacking threat as our hunt for a first goal from open play since the new manager arrived continues.

In stark contrast to the first half of the season, we seem to have forgotten how to grind out a result. Our previously solid defence is looking suspect and our attack is woefully out of sorts. The January transfer window presents an opportunity to improve the squad and move on high earners such as Bennett and Nichols who don’t appear to figure in the new gaffer’s plans.

Josh Barrett, Jayden Mitchell-Lawson and Josh Ginnelly have come in whilst on-loan Tyler Smith has departed. If a Championship team meets Rovers’ valuation of star striker Clarke-Harris then he’s certain to leave making it essential that we sign at least one striker, and preferably two by the end of the month.

On the positive side, a number of injured players are coming back to match fitness with Mark Little, Ollie Clarke and Tom Davies all pushing for a starting berth. Their opportunity could come this Saturday when Rovers entertain similarly out-of-sorts Fleetwood at the Memorial Stadium.