Bristol Rovers Fan's View with Dennis Payter
ACCRINGTON Stanley, who are they? said the youngster in the famous milk advert. Well, if Rovers don't look out they will soon become the butt of the music hall jokes.
For Mark McGhee to admit they didn't do any homework for the game at Wimbledon last Tuesday and just expected to turn up and do well is honest, but unprofessional and beyond a joke.
Then he admitted he surprisingly played defender Adam Virgo up front in that game even though he knew he was carrying a knee injury. I certainly wasn't laughing when I heard that one.
Sorry if I appear to be sitting on the fence over Virgo, but I feel he has been struggling all season wherever he has played. Behind the scenes he may be seen as a good squad man for being willing to help the cause while injured, but it hasn't worked.
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Fans who criticised him at Wimbledon weren't to know he had a dodgy knee, although some of the abuse may have been over the top the manager must realise fans pay their money and are entitled to their opinion. But I have to admit that some of the abuse that seems to be creeping back into the game has to be stopped.
I am concerned that this squad seems to capitulate once they go behind. Yes, we have a lot of injuries, but we had a good enough side on the pitch at Wimbledon to do much better than ship three goals in such rapid time to a side below us in the league.
But never mind, we remained optimistic as our side headed for Accrington who had just parted with their manager and was coming off four defeats on the bounce. It was hardly an intimidating place, there were just 1,462 fans watching. I know it doesn't give us the right to win, but we surely have the right to expect better against sides like this which cannot have the budget our manager has. The league table doesn't lie and it already seems that the very best we can hope for is to still be in this division again next season.
However, this Saturday we can forget all our troubles in the league for 90 minutes as we welcome Sheffield United. I just love the romance of the FA Cup and the unpredictability it brings. But playing the Blades brings back memories of another competition and that famous day we beat them in the 1972 Watney Cup Final at Eastville when we scored all seven in the penalty shoot-out before Dick Sheppard's winning save.
It was the only game on Match of the Day, one of the first times Rovers appeared on TV and I was looking forward to it only to discover the programme was put back until after midnight as the Eurovision Song Contest was over-running.
But it didn't matter, we won the cup and I hope we can repeat that win on Saturday.