January 30, 2019
Welcome all to another vital match here at the Memoral Stadium where Rovers will be desperate to return to winning ways in the Football League against the ‘Posh’ from Peterborough exactly a week on from the Checkatrade Trophy quarter-final victory over Port Vale. A much-maligned (and rightly so in my opinion) competition that sees us just one game away from another Wembley appearance. Not that too many of you cared judging by the attendance but there could be several reasons for that – the freezing wet weather, more important games to save up for or simply a boycott against the many changes that have been foisted on what was once a simple knock-out cup competition for 3rd & 4th division clubs.
As Chairman of the Supporters Club and being retired from work I feel morally obliged to follow my team just about everywhere and have always done so, only missing one game, ironically the season’s opener at Peterborough, in the last nine seasons. Well, it was my son’s wedding and we lost anyway so I soon got over it! These notes had to be penned before the semi-final draw so, at the time of writing I am praying for a home tie as I do not fancy an evening trip to any of the other remaining sides – Portsmouth (no win at Fratton since 1957!), Bury (nearly 200 miles) or, heaven forbid, Sunderland at nearly 300 miles for the second time this campaign. Fingers crossed then but seriously I would personally rather have the three points on offer tonight than another ‘day out’ in north London. Perhaps I can have both! However, it was a comfortable and well deserved victory over the ‘Valliants’ that will hopefully be a big confidence booster for some of our lads despite the five team changes made from the Saturday side. In true season-long style we hit the ‘woodwork’ twice but managed three good goals, even one for the hard-working Tom Nichols, once Vale had got themselves down to ten men.
There must still be a few Rovers fans who have not yet experienced the Wembley atmosphere and I’m sure there are several players in our squad who would love to add a game on the ‘hallowed turf’ to their c.v. but the priority as the manager says is surely to stay up in League 1 – we do not want another spell in the basement!
Our last League game was also here at the Mem of course against old rivals Wycombe Wanderers who duly took home all the points from a very disappointing game as Rovers seemed to slip back into their ‘pre-Coughlan’ form – failing to produce any worthwhile chances up-front and allowing one moment of inattention at the back to complete a miserable day for the home support. I agree with the Boss that the atmosphere was flat but not only because of the standard of play as several of our volunteers said to me how quiet the place was before the game despite a decent crowd. Perhaps it was that time of the year but I hope both team and crowd are up for the fight tonight because the ‘Posh’ are going to provide very difficult opposition in the scrap for points at both ends of the league table. So, please get behind the boys tonight – plenty of the noise that only the Clubhouse can provide!