Bristol Rovers boss John Ward focusing on challenges that lay ahead
Bristol Rovers boss John Ward has told his players to put their performance at Fleetwood to the back of their minds and to focus on the challenges that lay ahead in their continuing battle to remain in the Football League.
The manager watched a patched-up and youthful-looking side produce their best performance of the campaign to claim a surprise 3-0 victory at Highbury on Saturday to breath new life in to Rovers' survival bid.
That continues with a tricky-looking assignment against promotion-chasing Exeter City at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday and Ward said: "The manner in which we won the game at Fleetwood was as pleasing as getting the right result was.
"To play with the authority we did against a team that was going for promotion was very encouraging. The players have responded very well and that performance is certainly as good as anything I've seen from one of my teams in a long time.
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"The players really enjoyed themselves and you could tell they were well up for what they were trying to achieve.
"We've received the plaudits for our performance on Saturday and that has been nice. It has been and gone now, though, and we need to switch our focus to a very difficult game against Exeter on Saturday.
"The Exeter manager Paul Tisdale is an ex-player of mine and Marcus Stewart is well aware of their group after playing for them for a few seasons.
"They've won two or three on the bounce and are in the top three so we know we'll need to show the same sort of performance as we did at Fleetwood if we are to get a result."
Ward, however, says the players that performed so heroically at Highbury are still not guaranteed a place in the starting line-up this weekend.
The manager has confirmed that he is still looking to bolster his squad with new faces this week, whilst striker David Clarkson and widemen Joe Anyinsah and Fabian Broghammer are also expected to return from injury.
Ward added: "To reproduce that sort of performance over a spell of games can be difficult with young players.
"It won't be easy to pick a team for Saturday, but I have to do what I think is right. The work I do in training with the players this week will direct me in my thoughts over what I will do."
Ward, meanwhile, is hoping that Danny Woodards is on his way to returning to the sort of form that saw him claim last season's player of the year award.
Woodards has struggled since making a return from a broken leg earlier in the year, but scored the opening goal in Saturday's 3-0 win and Ward said: "Danny has had a really difficult period.
"He is now back training every day and played an integral part in a very good victory for us on Saturday. Danny had a bad injury so we have to protect him a little bit and give him some time to get back to his best form."