PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers v Rotherham United
Bristol Rovers winger Joe Anyinsah knows any drop off in performance level could prove costly over the next few weeks.
Anyinsah has been one of a number of regular starters as manager John Ward has practiced consistency in team selection in recent weeks – leaving the likes of David Clarkson, Eliot Richards, Ellis Harrison and Tom Hitchcock having to make do with places on the bench.
Those players, however, have all made useful contributions at times when they have been offered rare opportunities to get minutes on the pitch and Anyinsah is aware that they would all be capable of taking any chance to state their case for more regular inclusion should Ward decide to switch things around over the next few games.
“Every player wants to play regularly and I’m enjoying the opportunity to go out and express myself every Saturday,” said Anyinsah.
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“I am an instinctively an attacking player, but the manager keeps reminding me that I have to be disciplined and to keep good shape. I’m pleased that the manager trusts me to do that role.
“When you play so many games you do start to get a bit tired, but a winning mentality and the thought that others are waiting to get a chance gets you through it.
“You have a look over at our bench at the moment and you can see it is very strong. I’ve been in that position when you are on the bench dying to be involved in games, so those in the team know have to be on their game in every game to keep their place.”
Ward, however, expects to use the full extent of his playing resources over the coming four-week period – during which Rovers will play eight games – and has praised those squad players for the attitude and application they have shown in the absence of regular places in the starting line-up.
“You can see a big togetherness and a real team spirit amongst the lads,” said Anyinsah. “Winning games has instilled a real confidence in us and it is nice to be around the place at the moment.”
Rovers moved ever-closer to safety after opening up a seven-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone following Saturday’s 1-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers.
Ward’s side also increased their recent unbeaten run to six games and will be looking to register another victory over a Rotherham United side they beat 3-1 at the New York Stadium last month when the two teams go head-to-head in the reverse fixture at the Memorial Stadium tonight (7.45pm).
When asked how long he felt Rovers could maintain their current hot-streak of form, Anyinsah replied: “Who knows? It is a cliché, but we really are just taking each game as it comes.
“We’re grinding out results and there is a real belief amongst us that we can go and win any game.
“We had a great result up there at Rotherham a few weeks back to really boost our confidence and that is still fresh in our minds.
“It works both ways, though, and it will still be fresh in their minds too. I’m sure they will be right up for it and looking to prove a point when they come here on Tuesday night. We have to be ready for that.”
Anyinsah, meanwhile, is enjoying his best run of form since joining the club after being re-united with a manager he played under at Carlisle United.
“I knew the manager from my time at Carlisle so I was aware of the way he goes about things,” said Anyinsah.
“It is no surprise to me that he has managed to make an immediate impact on our form, but I’m maybe a little surprised it has happened so quickly.”