April 8, 2008
Directors and staff were very pleased to welcome Wayne Andrews ahead of the game away at Yeovil. I had a chance to talk with Wayne a few hours before kick off and he came across as very likeable, very professional, fit, well prepared and with a good deal of confidence in his ability to do well for us.
Having trained well with the squad on the Friday, Trolls made the decision to give Wayne an immediate start up front. It is no secret that we have been seeking a striker for some time and with a good experience of football at a higher level, the Coventry and former Crystal Palace and Watford player seemed to fit the bill and tick all the boxes. Apart from anything else Wayne wanted to join us and was very keen to pull on the shirt, give us a lift and score a few goals for us during the remainder of the campaign.
To my mind Wayne started well in the game and seemed to be growing as the game settled. We were all willing him to do well and it looked as though he was not going to let us down as he was looking impressive. On just twenty minutes or so Terry Skiverton weighed in with a horrible tackle which left Wayne reeling in pain and clearly seriously injured. At the time of writing the player awaits the results of a scan but at the very best Phil Kite told me after the game that the injury could be much the same as the one suffered by Steve Elliot against Fulham in the FA Cup replay. That would mean a period of six to eight weeks or so. Phil called the doctor immediately and all was done to make Wayne as comfortable and as mobile as possible.
We were all gutted to say the very least. I looked around at Ron Craig and we both shook our heads in disbelief and with a good deal of disappointment not just for our football club but as much as anything for the player himself. On the way back to Bristol Wayne told me that he was sure he that would have scored at some time in the game. I could not but help thinking that he could well have done. We wish him all the very best for a speedy recovery and a return to full fitness in good time for pre season.
With Wayne’s departure at Huish Park the opportunity fell again to young Josh Klein-Davies. As well as looking to bring in quality players to improve the squad, Paul has proved yet again how prepared he is to test the principal that good coaching prevails. All of us at the game I am sure were so very pleased for Josh when he struck for the first goal against Huddersfield Town.
All has been said about the incident in the tunnel after the home game with Swansea City. I have been asked around the ground about ill feelings between the clubs and about a rumoured boycott of the game at there place by our directors. I must take this opportunity to put the record straight. Five Bristol Rovers directors were at the Game on Easter Monday and we were greeted warmly by our friends and colleagues at The Liberty Stadium. I would go so far as to say that the strength and obvious sincerity of the hospitality that we were afforded was as good as anything we have experienced on our travels all season. Anyway, why would our directors forsake our team on any occasion and at any game? Certainly they would not; above and beyond all else our Board members have shown to me time and again that they are first and foremost life long Bristol Rovers supporters to the very core. We may not agree on everything all of the time and we may not get everything right but I do not doubt the hearts and minds. Our place is with our team at all times. Not one of our directors has ever suggested to me otherwise.
April marks the final month of the full League programme and with it usually comes a partial recovery of well used pitches up and down the country. We know that the surface at the Mem is not good. There are others in that category too and we are far from being on our own. A friend of mine travelled to Tranmere to follow Swindon Town for the recent fixture up there and he tells me that Prenton Park was a sea of mud.
Having talked to Pete Prior last week I have learned that, remarkably, an infestation of worms has brought much sand to the surface all over the pitch. Liquid worm killer has been sprayed and so too has a liquid feed. A reseeding has also taken place and Pete is very sure that the force feeding will improve the pitch as we approach our final games. The pitch will be subjected to light mows as the month progresses. Care has still to be taken with mowing because of the threat of frosts at night.
We play our best football on a good pitch and the efforts to provide a good surface for our players will continue to the end.