Bristol Rovers fan's view with Dennis Payter
IT'S not really the time for recriminations, but it was fascinating to hear another manager's take on why Rovers are playing so much better these days.
"Why didn't these players perform like that when Mark McGhee was here?" said Rotherham manager Steve Evans, despite their win over Rovers last Tuesday.
I don't think the controversial Mr Evans was stirring it up: it is a question we have been asking on the terraces for weeks.
The fans might never know what was going on under McGhee, but we just have to hope that the powers-that-be at the club did. Otherwise, the same mistakes could be made in the future.
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Just after the kick-off in most games before Christmas, it was evident to everyone that we were second best and would struggle to get anything out of a game.
Now, it is like supporting a different team, scrapping for 90 minutes and giving 100 per cent to win home and away.
I like to think the reason we have improved is because we have a better manager who was responsible for bringing in the likes of Steve Mildenhall, Mark McChrystal and John-Joe O'Toole to the club, while restoring Lee Brown to left-back.
As Rotherham boss Evans said : "We were up against a team that had won six of their last seven games, which is unbelievable.
"I'm seeing players not running a yard earlier in the season and yet they are now prepared to climb Ben Nevis for John Ward and that's not right. I think one or two of those players should hang their heads in shame.
"I don't know Mark McGhee that well, but I am sad for him when I see the way things have changed in recent weeks. One of our scouting reports actually said: 'one wonders what these players were doing earlier in the season'.
"Rovers supporters will be pleased with how John has turned it around, but if those players had done that earlier in the season they would be in the top three now."
I couldn't have put it better myself. Your guess is as good as mine over which players Evans was referring to, but you have to wonder why some are performing better for the new manager than the one who signed them.
We are still only six points from a relegation slot and cannot afford to ease up. But it is incredible to note that Rovers are unbeaten in the last six away games, thanks to another battling draw at Morecambe.
Our recent displays have been patchy, but at least we have been hanging in there and, at Morecambe, we were without Fabian Broghammer and Ryan Brunt.
Every week we seem to be facing in-form sides, with Northampton and Burton next up, but their scouts must be reporting back on how much faster our lads are running up the mountains!