John Ward welcomes Bristol Rovers stadium progress as he plots league survival
Bristol Rovers boss John Ward says the increasing prospect of a new stadium adds further incentive to the club's battle for Football League survival.
The club moved a step closer to achieving ambitions to develop a new 21,500-all seat facility at Stoke Gifford on Wednesday night after councillors approved plans for Sainsbury's to build a new superstore on the current Memorial Stadium site
Ward said: "I'm delighted for the chairman and the rest of the board because they've all worked incredibly hard to make it happen.
"It is very exciting for the club in the long-term, but is slightly tempered by the position we currently find ourselves in at the bottom of the Football League.
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"There will be a lot of very happy Bristol Rovers fans, but they will all be a lot happier if we are playing league football when the plans come to fruition.
"That's the cause I have taken on and getting things right on the pitch is my main focus at the moment. I'm sure the fans will forgive me if I don't get too excited because, like me, I'm sure they want a league club to support.
"It is a nice thing to look forward to in the future, but, for me, right now, it is all about making sure that when we get a new stadium, we are playing what I call proper football there."
Ward, meanwhile, has already made moves to keep on-loan midfielder John-Joe O'Toole beyond the end of the month.
The busy Colchester midfielder has become an instant favourite with supporters after arriving as one of Ward's first signings following his appointment to succeed former boss Mark McGhee last month.
O'Toole, who scored in the impressive 3-0 win over Fleetwood last weekend, is scheduled to remain at the Memorial Stadium until the end of January, but Ward confirmed: "Conversations are taking place with Colchester.
"John-Joe has come in and made an instant impact and we'd like to keep him, but we are third in line when it comes to a decision.
"John-Joe has to decide whether he wants to stay or not and then Colchester have to decide whether or not they want to take him back."
The manager, meanwhile, has been working hard to boost his squad with new arrivals this week.