Bristol Rovers boss John Ward struggling to bolster squad ahead of Fleetwood trip
John Ward admits that Bristol Rovers' position at the bottom of the Football League is hampering his bid to strengthen a threadbare squad.
The manager this morning confirmed that he has missed out on a couple of potential deals over the last 48 hours and could go to Fleetwood on Saturday without any new faces on board.
Ward, however, remains in the market for a striker and his need to fill the void increased after he revealed this morning that David Clarkson will miss his third successive game with an ankle injury and that Joe Anyinsah is '50/50' because of a hamstring complaint.
A defender is also still on the radar after Garry Kenneth was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury earlier this month, but Ward said: We've managed to bring a few in over the last couple of weeks, but this week we've just drawn a blank.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"I've had something like 77 phone calls in and out in the last couple of days in an on-going bid to improve the squad, but we've not been able to do it.
"I've had one message back this morning regarding a player I'd made an offer for and the club in question has turned it down, but I'm always hopeful that my next phone call will be the one that says we can do something.
"These things happen in the game and certainly it is tough to persuade players to come to a club that is in our current predicament. Players are looking at that and wondering where Bristol Rovers are going to be in six months.
"There are always players that think they can do better at this time of the year. It is really a case of sifting out the necessities for us and identifying what type of player is right for this football club at this moment in time.
"It might become a little easier towards the end of January, but then I'd have to decide whether a player only wants to come here because he has not got anywhere else to go.
"Time is also at a premium for us because we are running out of football matches from which to get the points we need. There is a chance that we will go to Fleetwood without any new players, but I want people to know I'm still trying very hard to get people in."
Ward, meanwhile, still hadn't given up all hope in the possibility that Stoke midfielder Matt Lund could return on loan, when saying: "I haven't given up on that yet.
"Matt has to make a decision on his own future, but we're training up at Stoke on Friday and people like John Rudge and Tony Pulis have an affinity with this football club and are keeping me in touch with that situation."
Ward, meanwhile, welcomed the positive developments this week surrounding Rovers' plans to build a new stadium at Stoke Gifford after councillors recommended that Sainsbury's should be given permission to build a new supermarket on the Memorial Stadium site in Horfield.
The decision is set to be made one way or the other at a planning meeting on January 16, but Ward warned: "The new stadium is very important for the future of the club.
"Every Bristol Rovers supporter and even my chairman would probably agree when I say the most crucial thing for me to focus on at this moment in time is to stay in the Football League.
"I don't think anybody would enjoy the prospect of having a fantastic new stadium on the horizon if Bristol Rovers is not playing in the Football League."
Rovers continue their bid to lift themselves of the foot-of-the-table against a big-spending Fleetwood Town side, who are currently embroiled in the battle for play-off places.
"Everybody we are playing seems to be in the top six or seven at the moment," said Ward. "We played the leaders last week and, although they were ultimately too strong for us, we gave them a decent game.
"Fleetwood are of a similar standard. They have some strength and depth and will certainly be a tough opponent for us."