We must keep working hard to stay out of trouble, says Bristol Rovers boss John Ward
BRISTOL Rovers boss John Ward says he is working hard to make sure his players don't get carried away by their run of improved form.
Ward, pictured, has guided the side out of the bottom two after Rovers gained 14 points from seven games following the departure of former boss Mark McGhee in December.
Their latest outing ended in wild scenes of celebration following a stoppage-time wonder strike from Oliver Norburn, which claimed a point against promotion-chasing Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night, but Ward said: "It's all about maintaining the hard work the players have shown in the last few games. We have to always look ahead and the only reason for ever looking back is for the information that will help us in what we are trying to achieve.
"We have scored two late goals in our last two games and they have been important for us, but if we go to Oxford on Saturday and are sloppy or get lazy then what is the point? That is my message to the players and supporters today because we are achieving together. Let's go to Oxford and see if we can replicate a similar performance on and off the pitch because there is no better feeling in any walk of life than the one after you have been successful.
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"We are enjoying a little bit of success at the moment, but we are still not out of the woods. We are still in a precarious position and that is something we still have to accept, understand and deal with."
The 1-1 draw at Whaddon Road moved Ward's men to within five points of 18th-placed York City and the manager believes getting out of the bottom six for the first time this season must be the next progression to aim for ahead of tomorrow's trip to the Kassam Stadium.
"There are areas in which we can improve," said Ward. "You only have to look at the league table to come to that conclusion. We have to look above now and see if we can catch that little cluster of teams just outside the bottom six.
"It is not easy, however, because you look at the teams below us and the likes of Barnet, who showed they were a very good side at the Memorial Stadium last Friday night, are in the bottom two.
"If we keep concentrating on improving ourselves game-by-game then we will make progress and perhaps drag one or two of the teams above us into the mix."
Ward has confirmed that he will only dip into the loan market in case of emergency.
Ward recruited six players during January to bolster what was a threadbare squad prior to last Thursday night's transfer window deadline.
The loan market, however, reopens for business today following a seven-day break from all transfer activity, but Ward says the imminent arrival of any more new faces is unlikely.
He said: "I'm happy with the squad. The situation at the moment is that we will dip in to the loan market if and when we need to should we pick up a few injuries here and there.
"We have improved the strength and depth of the squad over January, but if we were to see two or three key players ruled out over the remaining weeks of the season, then it is obviously something we'd look at.
"I won't be looking to do anything imminently because we are quite solid and I don't want to disrupt what we have going here at the moment.
"We have people watching games and assessing what players may be available so that if we need to do something at any time we can do it quite quickly and sensibly."