Leroy Rosenior: Bristol Rovers' new boys Ryan Brunt and Clayton McDonald will add to the feelgood factor for manager John Ward
JOHN Ward will be hoping that Bristol Rovers' game at Rotherham will beat the cold snap and go ahead tomorrow. Things seem to be ticking along quite nicely at the Memorial Stadium right now and after beating Fleetwood a fortnight ago, I'm sure John will be keen to get his players back out on the pitch before they lose the chance to build some momentum on the back of what was their best performance of the season.
John is also boosted by the addition of a couple of new faces to his squad this week after completing deals to sign defender Clayton McDonald from Port Vale and young striker Ryan Brunt from Stoke City.
Rotherham, however, is a tough place to go and they are a team that are doing their own business in the transfer market in an attempt to correct a recent run of form that can only be described as 'stop-start'.
I have to say that Steve Evans has made a very astute move in signing Claude Davis from Crawley Town, a defender I believe has quality enough to still be playing at Championship level.
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It goes to show the difference in finances between the two clubs right now, although I still think signing McDonald is a good move by John.
The big man will add an additional aerial presence and is a real defender's defender. He also knows what this league is about after playing 20 or so games for league leaders Port Vale this season.
The signing of Brunt is more of a punt and, as is the way with strikers, people will look at his goal-record and those of a pessimistic nature will immediately write him off.
The thing is you'd have looked at Tom Eaves' record when he joined on loan from Bolton earlier in the season and probably thought the same thing.
Seven goals later, however, and I'm sure there isn't a Rovers fan that wouldn't have welcomed Eaves back for an extended loan spell had Bolton boss Dougie Freedman allowed it.
I don't know too much about Brunt as a player, but what I do know is that he will have been well-schooled coming, as he is, out of Stoke.
It's a club where a strong mental attitude appears to be important, and is something that John knows he'll need his players to show in abundance in a continuing survival battle.
The return of David Clarkson brings the number of strikers in the squad up to four and I think most managers would be happy with that.
John will know, however, that three of his are young and inexperienced and therefore prone to inconsistency, so there may be an argument to bring in somebody with a bit more know-how to complement the business that has already been done during the transfer window.
Whatever is required, I'm pretty sure most Rovers fans will be confident to trust John's judgement if the last few weeks have been anything to go by. He's a pretty ice-cool customer and remains so even after walking into what was a desperate situation a few weeks ago. He knew he needed reinforcements, but showed no signs of panic. Supporters are always calling for signings to be done quickly and a few days without the arrival of a new face tends to lead to a bit of hysteria.
John never seems to become unnerved and always does his homework and remains patient until he gets the right man and I think Rovers will reap the rewards from that approach over the next few weeks.
The call for new players can also be heard around Ashton Gate at the moment, but I'm not sure we're going to see too many more arrivals.
New head coach Sean O'Driscoll is another man who has been around long enough to avoid the temptation of making panic buys.
What I think will be more important for City is how much of a change Sean can make by tweaking things a little bit with the players he already has at his disposal.
Sean made five changes for his first game in charge at Leeds United, and, although the result wasn't what City fans would have hoped for, I'm sure few people would argue that there were signs of improvement.
I think it is clear to see where Sean will be concentrating his efforts. He'll be looking to tighten things up by giving little away at the back and I don't think he'll be making any apologies for that.
It was interesting to hear some of the players come out afterwards and say that they had been impressed with Sean's methods and how great the first few days had been under his leadership. I always take that sort of thing with a pinch of salt; what else do you expect them to say when they are asked the question?
What I would like to see now is these players do their talking on the pitch and to start getting some results to put themselves in with a chance of staying in the Championship beyond the end of this season.
Bottom of the league and seven points adrift sounds a lot – but City do have a game in hand and a few teams above them – the likes of Birmingham and Huddersfield – are in freefall.
That gives City some hope that all is not lost just yet.