LEROY ROSENIOR: John Ward and Bristol Rovers show signs of a marriage made in heaven
BRISTOL Rovers' revival does not surprise me one bit because I always felt that John Ward was the right man for the job at the Memorial Stadium.
There are plenty of managerial appointments in football where you know instantly that it is a wrong fit. I never felt that about John returning to the club.
He understands what Rovers are about and has a deep appreciation of the club and it's supporters.
For that reason, I think the board of directors should now sit down with John and sort something out for the future.
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These things are always best done when things are going well and John's influence on the pitch is plain for all to see. Now he needs to be allowed to have an influence off the field and that means tying him to the club for the next four or five years.
It was a touch ironic that Exeter City were in town this week, given that they are all about stability and long-term sustainability. People like Steve Perryman have been there for a very long time and helped build a solid base – and that is something Rovers can learn from.
Rovers effectively went into freefall from the moment Lennie Lawrence was relieved of his duties as director of football a few seasons ago and the directors need to think about that.
They must have a long-term vision for the future of the club and John Ward has to be a part of that.
This is an important time for the club, especially with the move to a new stadium looming, and they need stability more than ever.
An amazing total of 34 managers have lost their jobs in the Football League this season and it is difficult to progress when you are constantly chopping and changing.
I think it is vital Rovers back John now by offering him a deal before the end of the season; that will settle the players down and guarantee the manager giving 100 per cent.
I was not surprised to see the Pirates beat Exeter 2-0 on Wednesday night.
They comfortably defeated Burton 3-0 a few days earlier and it was clear to see that confidence is now coursing throughout the team.
The crowd have played a part in that and it was good to see more than 7,000 turned up the other night. That helps players and those who were maybe afraid to try things before are now being encouraged to shoot on sight. If Rovers' first goal came from a keeper's blunder, it must be remembered Oliver Norburn had the confidence to try a speculative shot in the first place.
The second goal was a great strike and symptomatic of how confident Rovers are these days. Certainly, I can see them going to Chesterfield this weekend and getting a result.
Lots of managers tell their teams to keep things tight and shore the game up away from home, but I don't think Rovers are like that. The way they are playing for John, I see no reason why they should not play off the front foot and impose themselves on the game.
If John Ward is the right fit for Bristol Rovers, then Sean O'Driscoll is certainly the right man to revive Bristol City's fortunes.
City may still be propping up the npower Championship table, but they are improving all the time and they produced yet another excellent team performance to shut out a talented Brighton side that, in my opinion, is heading for the play-offs.
Although the supporters may think differently, City's position is not of any immediate concern. They have to keep chipping away, pick up points and keep themselves in the race.
There may well come a time in the final three or four games when they have to gamble and take risks, but that time has not come yet.
I am a great believer that you should only gamble from a solid base and that was not happening before Sean arrived. Derek McInnes would make changes and throw attacking players on in a bid to win games, but was not doing it from a solid base.
He changed the side far too often to ever have that and it meant City lost more than they won.
Sean is different; he has a strategy and he will stick to it no matter what. He has made City more consistent and I really do believe they can stay up this season.
I know the supporters were upset that Wolves won the other night, but they have to put things into perspective. Wolves were in the Premier League only last year, while City were favourites to go down before a ball was even kicked this season.
So many of their rivals have been in the top flight in recent years, that the Championship has become like a Premier League II. City are one of the few not to have been in the top division and that is what they are up against.
If they can survive this season, I'm convinced they will not be in the same position 12 months from now.
Sean is developing a sound base and, in time, will develop more of a threat in the final third. But that will only happen when he feels the time is right.
I think the supporters have bought into his way of doing things and they are now staying until the very last minute, because they know their team is capable of winning games. That was not happening before Sean arrived and people were leaving early.
I'm now enjoying watching the highlights of City games, while preparing for the Football League Show on Saturday nights.
It is nice to look at their results and see performances that lift the spirits.
I look forward to them lifting my spirits again when they play Middlesbrough at Ashton Gate on Saturday.