We'd have struggled to recover in the past, says Bristol Rovers striker Eliot Richards
Striker Eliot Richards believes Bristol Rovers would have struggled to bounce back from conceding an early goal to get anything from a game prior to the arrival of manager John Ward in December.
Richards was on target to help Rovers claim a hard-earned point at in-form Morecambe at the Globe Arena on Saturday after they trailed to Jack Redshaw's second-minute opener, and then said: "We've made a lot of progress in the last couple of months.
"The manager has brought in some really good players and instilled a very positive attitude in us. That has been the most important thing that has changed for us. A couple of months ago I think we might have lost this game.
"It was important we kept ourselves in the game. We were very disappointed to concede a second goal quickly against Rotherham on Tuesday night and the manger stressed we had to learn from that.
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"We knew if we kept working hard, we'd get a break. We showed a good attitude and a draw is not bad for us in the end. Nobody disliked anybody else during the time Mark McGhee was here, but I just think John Ward has introduced some new ideas.
"That we have been getting results on the back of that that has also been a big help. It's a lot easier to be positive when you are winning games."
He added: "It was important that we didn't lose another game after losing to Rotherham. A draw sets us up nicely to go to Northampton and to try and get another positive result. If we'd have lost another game there is always a danger you can go into a bit of a slump."
Richards showed good movement to create some space to nod home a Lee Brown cross in the 48th minute – but was more disappointed that he spurned a later one-on-one chance that may have possibly seen Rovers win the game.
"I was happy with the goal, but I'm always more disappointed when I miss a chance," he said. "I was fouled but I managed to keep going. I decided to take a shot a bit early when maybe I should have carried it a bit further.
"Sometimes things happen like that and you just have to get on with it. It might have given us three points, but we got a hard-fought draw and I think we full deserved it."
Richards, meanwhile, is hoping to have done enough to keep his place in the side alongside Tom Hitchcock at Northampton on Tuesday night after the pair were both handed rare starts in the absence of knee-injury victim Ryan Brunt.
"I hope I'll keep my place," Richards said. "Tom and I work together well in training. We know each other's game pretty well and we are creating chances, so I like playing up front with him."