We're all in this together, says Bristol Rovers defender Lee Brown
Bristol Rovers defender Lee Brown says a new-found togetherness following the arrival of manager John Ward has been one of the major factors to have sparked a recent improvement in form.
Ward has watched his rejuvenated side suffer just one defeat from five games since succeeding Mark McGhee last month to breathe new life into Rovers' battle to beat the drop.
The manager has also instigated the arrivals of six new players to bolster what was a threadbare squad that had been decimated by injury.
"The manager has obviously done his research to get the right characters in," said Brown.
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"The team spirit is good and everyone is pulling in the same direction. I think there is a new sort of togetherness and that is reflected in some of our recent results.
"The arrival of new players obviously brings with it an additional competition for places, but the manager is fair in that if you play well then you'll keep your place.
"February is going to be another hard month with a lot of games to come, so the importance of having a good squad will become more apparent.
"There will be rotation just to move things about and to keep everyone as fresh as possible, but everyone around the squad accepts that and is singing from the same hymn sheet."
A difficult month begins with a crunch clash against fellow relegation-battlers Barnet at the Memorial Stadium on Friday night (7.45pm).
"We went in to January knowing that it was going to be tough," Brown said.
"We had a difficult run of fixtures against teams going for promotion, whilst a lot of those around us were playing each other.
"There was a danger that we could lose ground by the end of the month, so we knew we needed to pick up some points even though they were difficult games.
"To get back-to-back wins at Rotherham and Fleetwood was a great achievement. It is important we forget about that now and look forward because I think Barnet will be the toughest game of the lot."
Rovers will play their first game at the Memorial Stadium for almost a month after the recent cold snap forced the postponement of the clash against Exeter City, which was scheduled to take place on January 19.
"It will be good to play in front of our home fans again," Brown said. "The supporters have been terrific for us and I don't think people realise how much it helps us as players when we are under the cosh."