Bristol Rovers' Joe Anyinsah: "I was surprised and delighted to be back in the squad"
BRISTOL Rovers striker Joe Anyinsah admits he was surprised to be recalled to the starting line-up for the victory over Chesterfield after being dropped from the squad in recent weeks.
Anyinsah partnered Tom Eaves in attack at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday and claimed his first goal in almost a year to help Rovers end a four-game losing streak.
The winger-turned-striker had been deemed surplus to requirements in the previous two squads as Rovers boss Mark McGhee attempted to shake things up following a disappointing defeat at Accrington Stanley on October 27.
Speaking about his recall, Anyinsah admitted: "I was a bit surprised. I hadn't been involved in the last few games and even before that I wasn't featuring that much, so when the manager came to me on Thursday and told me I would be playing, I was over the moon.
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"You always have to be prepared as a footballer. I've kept working hard on my fitness to make sure that any time I was called upon, I would be ready to do myself justice.
"It has been a long time since I have scored a goal, so it was delighted with that, and I was also pleased with how I performed in general.
"I haven't played as many games as I would have liked here, but hopefully that is something I can change over the coming weeks. The manager has said that if I can score goals, I'll stay in the team. I never take anything for granted, but I'm hopeful."
The biggest surprise, however, is that Anyinsah still remains at the club. His days seemed numbered when a furious McGhee made him suffer the ignominy of being a substituted substitute at Torquay towards the end of last season. A truce of sorts was called in pre-season when the manager offered Anyinsah an opportunity to work his way back into his thoughts.
Anyinsah's appearances this season, however, have been sporadic and he said: "The manager doesn't hold back with his opinions and as a player you have to respect that. We've had a few conversations here and there and perhaps the manager feels I should be doing more than I have been doing.
"That is fair enough, because I set high standards for myself. I can only go out there and do my best and that is what I try to do every time I play.
"It does bother me when I am not in the squad, but I always try to stay positive and upbeat. It wouldn't help me or anybody else if I let the disappointment affect me when I go into work.
"That wouldn't be helpful in maintaining a good environment, so if I have to cry about it, I do it when I get home! I always like to come in with a smile and a positive attitude."
Rovers return to action with a trip to Rochdale on Saturday, and Anyinsah said: "Everybody was relieved to get a victory to end the losing run."
"The results hadn't been going our way lately, so spirit and confidence was probably not as high as it should be. It was pleasing we managed to show good character and resilience to really grind out a result.
"We didn't give up when we suffered setbacks and that was encouraging."