Joey, you probably made harder work of that than you should have done?
Yeah, but even though they got two late goals I wasn’t particularly worried due to the fact we were so in control.
You’re thinking it’s going to be a cricket score. We’re disappointed we haven’t gone on and put five, six or seven on them, such were the opportunities we created in the second period.
Credit to them, they got a goal and they hadn’t scored in a while and it brought a bit of belief to a young side. For the last minute or so, they had half a chance when they should have been dead and buried.
But when you got the goal and the 10 minutes after that and for large periods of that second half, there was some really good stuff from your team.
Yeah. We saw on Saturday with the Swindon game where the group is at and the progression of the group.
It was tricky coming here today because everybody felt we had to win. That brings with it an added pressure.
Certainly a good performance and result away from home, and if we had drawn here tonight we would have felt like we had dropped points.
That’s no disrespect to Scunthorpe, it’s just part of the business of football.
We got what we came for, which was maximum points, but as I say, had the game finished at the 90 th minute, even then at 3-0 it would have been a frustrating victory, because we should have been at least six goals to the good and that’s part of the progression.
I thought Aaron Collins was as good as he’s been all season for us, apart from putting the ball in the back of the net and he’ll be disappointed he hasn’t furthered his leading-scorer claims at the club.
But for us, there’s lots of good stuff in there. I’m really pleased with many aspects of that performance, seeing Luke Thomas back firing on all cylinders. It’s really nice to see him going past people. It’s been hard work for him to get there.
And seeing big (Leon) Clarkey coming back on and scoring a really good goal.
The only thing that was missing today was keeping that back door locked and a clean sheet because I think the back four and Belly deserved it.
Wingers have got to block crosses if you want to be in our team and Sammy Nicholson’s just had a rocket off the whole of the team in there for not blocking that cross.
We’re disappointed because it gave them a little bit of impetus at the end of the game and they should have been, as I say, dead and buried long before that stoppage time.
How do you balance that because you’re right, there were so many good things to take out of that and you picked out some of the bad ones? How do you go about that? Do you say you’ve got to do better or do you say this is the first away win for three months and there was a lot of good stuff there?
We spoke in the dressing room quite candidly about all the bits we got right and there was a lot of that tonight, and then a couple of little bits we’ve got to be better at.
That’s part of the progression of our group and our team, and again let’s not lose sight of Bristol Rovers not winning away for a year and the run we’re on. We’ve won three and drawn one of the last four games and we’re moving in the right direction in many regards.
It’s not going to be all plain sailing, there are going to be moments where the team is in its evolutionary moments and it’s going to make some strange decisions.
It’s important we learn from those.
I’m delighted for the travelling Gasheads who have come out on a cold Tuesday night to Scunny.
Before the game started in the hotel, the objective was three points. Whichever way you take them, you’ve got to give the lads credit. We got the job done.
If you had all gone home in the 90th minute – usually you journalists have your stuff written by the 90thminute – it would have been a completely different story, so you can have a pop at the lads for making you work a bit harder.
I’m pleased with the win and we’ll be better.
Finally, just a word on Leon Clarke. It’s been tough for him to have that same injury again, but for him to come back and get a goal so quickly after that is a lovely moment.
Yeah, and for him to acknowledge the medical staff and come to the sidelines to see Stu (Leake) and Leighanne (Kelly) for the work they’ve done for him.
When he got injured at Hartlepool, I thought the worst. I thought that might be a horrible end to a great career.
Credit to Clarkey, he’s worked really hard to get himself ahead of the diagnosis and for us to have the ability to get him onto the pitch, he brings that quality and it was his goal that was the difference.
That third goal. Everybody talks about it in football that you’re 1-0 up and it’s dangerous, you’re 2-0 up and it’s even more dangerous. Three-nil tends to put teams away and it was fortunate that Clarkey got that goal because we’d have thrown points away here tonight, had he not finished the opposition.
Joey, I guess that was the reality check at the end. You can’t switch off at any moment in this league because it is chaotic.
Yeah, it’s great for me really because it guards against complacency and in reality if the lads had been more clinical we could be talking about five, six or possibly even 7-0, such was the dominance in the second period.
I’m not being disrespectful to Scunny, they have to chase the game because of their perilous league position.
For me, that’s the only black mark I’ve got against the result – the two late goals.
But the objective was three points and we managed to get some minutes into lads who are struggling for fitness and minutes while also resting some of the lads who have taken on big loads in recent weeks.
Really pleased. That’s followed on from a good performance at the weekend with another good performance and three points, albeit with work to do and improvement to find.
Culture has been a bit of a buzzword from your time here. That moment with Leon and the staff underlines that it is a group effort and not just the players.
We’ve worked hard through the midst of the chaos to build a different feel at the football club, on and off the pitch.
It hasn’t been a linear progression. We’ve had some tough moments and rightly been called out, but at every junction the lads have stood up to be counted.
Now, there seems to be a lot of different feeling and a lot of good feeling. When I see the numbers that travelled to the game on Saturday and again today, we’ve got numbers and they’re making noise.
I think the club’s turned a corner. It’s long overdue and we’ve got to keep working hard to guard against complacency because in this sport it’s only ever rented. The minute you stop paying the rent and doing the hard work and stop taking care of the small details, it very quickly puts you back to square one.
We’ve got work to do and we’ve got another tough game on Saturday in our stadium, a game we’re expected to win against an old colleague of mine.
We need to recover superbly now, get back down to Bristol and get ready for another good fixture in our stadium with our fans and, hopefully, we can give another good account of ourselves.
Josh Grant and Sam Finley came off. Was Josh just a yellow card precaution and Sam looked like he got a bit of a knock?
Sam hasn’t played a lot due to the suspension and he felt his groin in the first period.
Josh is back from a couple of injuries and we have to police against that so, for me, it’s one of the rare occasions where I’ve been able to utilise the squad with a congested period.
From 90 minutes onwards, it was harem-scarem, but before that, it was relatively professional.
We’ve got some tough fixtures ahead and the squad’s going to be fully utilised, so seeing Clarkey get those minutes and I’m really pleased with Luke Thomas, a good shift from him. And again, we had a young backline with average age of 20.5 as I read in the paper the other day. They’ll come on again for that.
Why did Ryan Loft not make the squad?
He’s got a cut on his eye, so we decided to rotate the group today.
Fortunately, we got three points and it paid off, but he’ll be gutted, Lofty, because he probably would have got a match ball.
I heard one of the young fans from the dugout before the game, he came up to him and called him a “Judas”.
I said ‘would you not leave Scunny to sign for Bristol Rovers?’ He said he wouldn’t, and I said ‘You’re mad’.
In reality, Lofty’s tried his utmost for the football club here and it’s in a difficult position. You can’t blame the boy for wanting come to a really good side, which I think we are, and it will be nice to have him back in the fold when he gets his stitches out on Saturday.
For as well as you’ve played for the last month or so, you have been treading water in terms of league position. It’s been 15th, 16th and 17th because you had the games off. Tonight’s the first time you’ve clawed at that gap, you’re up to 13th, eight points of the play-offs and you’ve got a game in hand on most teams, two on some. It feels like you’re getting there and starting to put the marker down.
I remember speaking to you at Barrow and I think there is a GIF doing the rounds of me saying we’re going to get promoted and I genuinely believe that.
I see some comments where fans are saying I shouldn’t have said we would get promoted at the start of the season. I always believed, even when I was playing for Burnley, that we could win the Premier League as soon as the fixtures came out. As deluded as that sounds, I felt we could win every game because that is my belief, you can win every single game.
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It’s not easy to do, of course, but you can do it. It’s 11 men against 11 men and every game is winnable.
The one criticism I would have against the Gasheads is they are terribly defeatist and don’t expect they can have success and it’s almost that everyone else is entitled to it but not them.
As I said when I came here, I came here to change that feeling. The Rovers fans can be successful, that’s my honest opinion.
I came here because I could see very quickly how I could put this club in the Championship. We’ve got so much hard work to do on that, but on and off the field now the club is starting to get some traction.
We’ve got so far to go but the fans now know that the team that takes to the pitch for them will give everything they’ve got. There might be a few mistakes and errors in there, but they will not come up short for effort and, for me, it’s an exciting time because I’ve got a young, hungry squad here and a really engaged fanbase desperate for success.
It’s a great combination and when you factor into that a really good owner who has supported me through some turbulent times.
Great times are ahead for the football club.
I’m pleased but we’ve got work to do. We’ve got to get back on the training ground to get better because I want to come here and win four, five, 6-0 and that’s no disrespect to the opposition. You pay them the ultimate respect by absolutely smashing the, that’s the highest compliment you can pay.
Transfers… can we expect any movement in or out before Walsall?
Maybe, yeah. I’ve got something up my sleeve.