Leroy Rosenior column: Bristol Rovers players need to show some home-grown determination
IT came as a surprise to me that Bristol Rovers played as poorly as they did in losing at home to Morecambe on Saturday. I, like countless others, was expecting Mark McGhee's side to build on the performance they produced at Wycombe a week earlier to put what would have been their first win of the season on the board.
I think there was certainly something in Mark's musings after the match that the pressure of playing at home may well have had an effect on some of the players.
A lot of people will say that is a poor excuse for losing a game considering the crowd numbered just over 5,000 – but the fact that Rovers had played OK up until the point at which they lost the first goal seems to offer that theory some substance.
How else can you explain that mad eight-minute period after the first goal that, ultimately, cost Rovers any chance of getting back into the game?
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Mark talked of a mental capitulation in his post-match interview and I don't think anybody could disagree with that observation.
It is a worrying issue that needs to be addressed, however, which the manager tried to do by keeping the players behind after the game to review the DVD of the second half.
I'm sure that would have proved uncomfortable viewing as it is something I had to do at times when I was in charge at Torquay.
I've never felt the need to do it straight after the game – but that was mainly because I never had the technology available to get a DVD burned off until Monday morning!
It was a good idea, though, for Mark just as much as the players. When a team suffers a defeat like that it will often play on the manager's mind most of all.
The players can go away on Saturday night and spend time with their families or friends to help them take their minds off what has happened on Saturday afternoon. .
A loss of that nature, however, often means a sleepless couple of nights for a manager whose job is always going to be dependent on results.
I'm sure some frank views were exchanged for the two hours or so before any of the squad was allowed to leave the ground on Saturday – but I also like the way Mark switched it around by making the players watch the Wycombe game on Monday morning to remind them of some of the good things they are capable of.
Maybe that helped because the players put on an improved display on Tuesday evening against Yeovil – even though they suffered another home defeat.
I heard Mark said that he was proud of his players for their reaction, which is all you can ask for on the back of a horrible defeat.
In those sort of games the standard of performance is often more important than the actual result – but you can't go too long without a victory if you want to keep supporters on side so everyone inside the camp will be desperate to get that first win on the board as quickly as possible.
Bristol City, meanwhile, did exactly what I feared they would do by leaving Barnsley with nothing to show for their efforts from a game that you'd have expected them to win.
It was another one of those situations in which City lose in a game you're expecting more from following a fantastic victory over Cardiff the previous weekend.
The likelihood is, however, that City fans will probably be prepared to write that one off and be looking forward to a big game at Ashton Gate against Blackburn next weekend.
To have six points from the games City have played so far is possibly better than some people would have expected.
And I'm sure Derek will be a relatively happy man going into the international break.
No manager likes to go into that two-week period without a game on the back of a defeat – but this fixture-less spell will allow Derek to get everyone together on the training ground and get some really worthwhile work done.
City waited a long time before completing the majority of their transfer business over the summer and some of the new faces – the likes of Sam Baldock and Steven Davies – will benefit from spending a bit of time around the training ground developing partnerships and settling into their new surroundings.
Just because there are no games, however, does not mean there isn't work to be done.
Rest assured that Derek will have been working away feverishly to see what he can do in terms of a possible loan deal in readiness for the re-opening of the window for temporary moves.
A central defender remains on Derek's radar before he will be satisfied that his recent recruitment drive is completed and I wouldn't be surprised to see something develop on that front early next week.
Interview: James McNamara