Ben Garner returned to take charge of the team after a leave of absence to deal with a serious health issue in his family. The Rovers gaffer came back last week and set about trying to arrest a worrying decline in the team’s fortunes – with no win since he took over from Graham Coughlan in December, writes Steve Knowlson.

Garner’s first challenge was a League One home fixture against Fleetwood Town last Saturday, another team which hasn’t tasted victory in 2020. It was a drab affair with chances few and far between, which is unusual as previous games between the two clubs have been feisty encounters with Fleetwood manager, Joey Barton, sent to the stands twice in consecutive matches.

The visitors had the better of the contest and fashioned a few shots on target to test Rovers’ new keeper – Chelsea loanee Jamal Blackman - but it was the home side who could have clinched all three points. Late in the game Alex Rodman was brought down in the box for a Rovers penalty but Jonson Clarke-Harris spurned the chance after seeing his spot kick saved by Cairns in the Fleetwood goal.

It would have been a proper smash and grab win but nothing seems to be going for the Gas at the moment so fans had to be content with a point and a clean sheet.

A midweek trip to struggling Bolton Wanderers resulted in another point, with a 1-1 draw against the Trotters pushing Rovers up to 12th – six points shy of the playoffs.

For the first time in Garner’s tenure we were the better team on the pitch with a number of good opportunities created. Our more positive approach yielded a goal for Clarke-Harris – Rovers’ first from open play in seven matches – when he tapped in a great Rodman cross. However, Murphy struck eight minutes from time to level the tie for Wanderers.

The January transfer window closes this Friday and it’s clear what Rovers need to do. With loan strikers Smith and Adeboyejo leaving this month and Tom Nichols seemingly on his way out, it’s essential that we sign at least one striker before the window slams shut.