Bristol Rovers debutant Mark McChrystal encouraged by Gillingham display
Debutant defender Mark McChrystal believes that Bristol Rovers need only 'one or two' new additions to have a squad capable of avoiding relegation.
McChrystal suffered a defeat in his first game for the club following a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Gillingham on Saturday – two days on from agreeing a short-term deal that will keep him at the Memorial Stadium until the end of the season.
The former Tranmere Rovers central defender, however, says he has been encouraged by what he is seen of the squad so far and insists that Rovers are good enough to survive the drop if manager John Ward can secure his preferred transfer targets before the end of the January transfer window.
He said: "I have really impressed with everything I have seen so far. I think Rovers is a big club that shouldn't be where it is in the league at the moment. We are where we are, though, and we have to work hard to pull ourselves out of this trouble we are in. I see a bright future if we can do that.
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"I think there is already a strong group of players here, but they are young and just need a bit of guidance. The players are eager and willing to work hard though, so with a few additions, I'm sure we'll be fine.
He added: "The move all happened very quickly last week, but I'm just delighted to be here. I was on loan at Scunthorpe last month to get a few games before the January window, so it has all worked out quite well.
"I'm here until the end of the season and I'm ready to give it a right go. Hopefully, we can get a few results and get ourselves up the table."
Ward, meanwhile, praised his players for their determination and desire to compete with Martin Allen's League Two leaders – but accepted that Gillingham's experience and guile proved too much for his young Rovers side, and McChrystal added: "Gillingham had two shots and they've won the game. That is probably why they are on top of the league, because they know how to win games.
"It was disappointing to concede a goal as early as we did, but we responded well and were unlucky not to equalise when John-Joe O'Toole hit the post. I think we deserved a goal because we were the better side in the first half.
"The second goal made life very difficult for us – but they paid us a compliment by changing their formation in the second-half by going with only one up front.
"We tried to get at them, but were just unable to get the breakthrough we needed. There are still a lot of positives we were able to take away from the game, though.
"Not a lot of people would have given us a chance to win the game before kick-off so we have to dust ourselves down now and try and get a result at Fleetwood next weekend."