Bristol Rovers boss John Ward 'moving towards' the start of talks over long-term future
Bristol Rovers boss John Ward expects talks to extend his stay at the Memorial Stadium beyond the end of the season to begin shortly.
Ward agreed a short-term deal until the end of the season to succeed Mark McGhee in December at a time when Rovers were fully embroiled in scrap against relegation.
The new manager has since sparked a considerable turnaround in fortunes that sees his side nine points clear of the drop zone ahead of Saturday’s clash at Chesterfield.
Chairman Nick Higgs went on record to say that talks over an extended contract for the manager would begin once Rovers’ status in League Two beyond the end of the current campaign was guaranteed and when asked about it this morning, Ward replied: “We have been thinking about that.
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It is something that I will be trying to sort out with the chairman. We haven’t set anything up right now, but it is certainly something we are moving towards.”
Rovers, meanwhile, could move another step closer to guaranteed safety if they could overcome Chesterfield on Saturday to follow up Wednesday night’s 2-0 victory over Exeter City, which Ward described as the team’s ‘best result’ since he took charge.
When asked whether a mid-table finish was now a realistic aim, Ward said: “We’re looking at that. I heard somebody talking about the play-offs after we won the game on Wednesday night and I had to say: “Calm down.”
“We are in a position in which we are able to achieve and improve ourselves. I want that to be the focus of everyone involved in the football club. Yes, we could win our ten remaining games, but we could also lose all ten. We just have to remain realistic and balanced in our views and that’s all I am saying at the moment.
“We’ve done well, but let’s concentrate first and foremost on trying to win the game at Chesterfield on Saturday. If we could do that we would climb another place in the table and that would be another good boost for us.”
Ward, meanwhile, gathered his players in the centre-circle at the final whistle of Wednesday night’s game to acknowledge the part the supporters played in helping his side overcome Paul Tisdale’s promotion chasers.
He said: “I think it was important for us to do that. The whole thing is together and there is a feel of the old days at Twerton Park about it.
“We lost games during that period, but the supporters came back the next week full of optimism that we could win the game. We were going through a period where we were trying to survive and this situation has a similar feel to it.
“What has helped us in recent games is that the supporters have not been getting on the back of the players when they make a mistake or when we lose a game.
“They are all very much behind us. I’ve been at clubs in the past where the supporters come to watch, but this group we have here come to join in.”