PREVIEW: Morecambe vs Bristol Rovers
Mark McChrystal says that Bristol Rovers will recover quickly from the ‘setback’ of seeing a recent six-game unbeaten run ended by Rotherham United at the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night.
Quick-fire goals from Kayode Odejayi amd Lee Frecklington inside three second-half minutes set recently-revived Rovers on their way to tasting defeat for the first time since January 5.
Central defender McChrystal, however, says the lasting effects of that reverse will be minimal and that Rovers make the trip to Morecambe tomorrow in good spirits and confident of embarking on another sequence of unbeaten games.
“Things have been going very well and we have been on a great run,” said McChrystal. “I’m sure people understand that we are still developing as a team. Setbacks do happen and it was always going to be the case that we would lose a game here or there.
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“To continue the sort of run we had been on until the end of the season was always going to be unrealistic considering where we had come from.
“Our targets have always remained on survival so we are fully focused on getting those few more victories that will make us mathematically safe.
“You take every game on its own merits. Tuesday night is gone now and we have to put it behind us by getting a positive result on at Morecambe on Saturday.
“I don’t think there was much between us and Rotherham on Tuesday night. It wasn’t a particularly free-flowing game, but they came out a bit more direct at the start of the second-half.
“The big thing for me was that we conceded a second goal very quickly after we let in the first and that shouldn’t really happen. If we could have taken a bit of time to steady the ship it would have given us a better chance to get something from the game.
“We still had a right go and were the better side for the final 20 minutes. That we were disappointed not to get something from a game against a good team going for automatic promotion is certainly progress.
“There were still a lot of positives we could take from the performance and that gives us confidence going into the game on Saturday.”
McChrystal’s no-nonsense approach to defending his own goal has certainly played an integral part in Rovers’ improvement over recent weeks. The Pirates had managed to keep only one clean sheet before manager John Ward moved to add the former Tranmere Rovers defender to the squad on a short-term deal until the end of the season during the January transfer window.
He has since formed a reliable partnership with skipper Tom Parkes at the heart of a defence that has managed to keep three clean sheets in eight games since.
“I’m enjoying playing with Tom at the back, but I think our improvement as a team has been down to a lot of different things,” said McChrystal.
“It’s hard for me to say exactly why we have improved because I wasn’t here before. What I can say is that we have tried to be organised and have developed good partnerships all over the pitch. The more games we play, the better we will get. With a lot of games to come over the next few weeks we have a good chance to do that.”