Bristol Rovers boss John Ward tells players not to dwell on Chesterfield defeat
Bristol Rovers boss John Ward has told his players not to dwell on what happened at Chesterfield on Saturday as they prepare to bounce back quickly against Port Vale tomorrow night.
Ward watched his side suffer defeat for what was only a fourth time in the 15 games since he succeeded Mark McGhee on December 17 and admitted that, for the first time, he had been disappointed with the performance of his players.
Rovers, however, have a quick chance to put that setback behind them when they host Micky Adams’ promotion-chasing Port Vale at the Memorial Stadium and the manager said: “We don’t have real time to go picking through everything because we play again Tuesday and we have to move on as quickly as we can.
“I do the same when we have won a game. I tell the boys to go away and enjoy the feeling for a few hours before we have to forget about it and prepare for the next one.
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“At the moment, we are disappointed and we will talk about Saturday, but I won’t dwell on what happened because my next move is to select a team to play against Port Vale on Tuesday night. Why should I dwell on what has happened when there are things to look forward to?
“It’s what we do next that counts. I would be really upset if I have to spend time lifting my players for the Port Vale game. All I will do is remind the players of how they responded positively after we have lost a game in the past.”
Adams’ side, meanwhile, arrive at the Memorial Stadium at a time where their promotion charge has stuttered on the back of a run in which they have lost three of their last four games, but Ward warned: “They are a good side and they will set us a tough challenge.
“Micky will be rueing the opportunities he has missed out on to get results lately, but good teams bounce back and I am sure that, like us, they will be determined to do that.
“It might be easier for them to play away at the moment because when a team is pushing for things like promotion an expectation follows that.
“In that situation, players sometimes are a bit more relaxed away from the pressures of playing at home and we have to be ready for a backlash from them.”
Ward was not in charge for the game earlier in the season in which Rovers suffered a 4-0 defeat, but was in attendance as an interested observer on that night back in November.
The side managed by Mark McGhee at that time were three goals down inside 35 minutes at Vale Park, but Ward said: “That night was a really difficult night for Bristol Rovers and Mark McGhee in particular.
“I think he had a lot of injuries and played a back five that night and hadn’t really had much time to work on it.
I’m not the sort to get bogged down in this feeling that we owe them one or anything like that because our team will be very different from the one that played at Vale Park.”
Ward, meanwhile, will be without winger Joe Anyinsah for tomorrow night’s game after he failed to re-appear for the second-half at the Proact Stadium due to a hamstring complaint.