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Rovers v Stevenage

Boz

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Another potentially difficult game ahead, as most sides managed by Graham Westley scrap over everything. In his o/s comments, Ronnie talks about playing at a higher tempo, which suggests that we may revert to something closer to 442 rather than the ponderous play which sometimes results from the diamond formation.

OFW in Wales duty means a probable rare outing for Mooney in goal. At the back Danny Holmes for Jones seems the only likely change. Further forward there are more options and it will be interesting to see how we line up. Hopefully with Lowe up front and Sodje not in the starting XI...

Prediction. Our gates are dwindling, the visitors won't bring many, so just over the 4k mark. Stevenage haven't enjoyed their previous visits to PP, but this game will be a lot closer either a draw or the odd goal deciding it...hopefully in our favour.
 

WildRover

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its just so difficult to predict anything with rovers atm, i think we could lose this simply down to the injuries, particularly in midfield...no robbo, no koumas, etc
 
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The time was when if you had two players called up for international duty, you could get a postponement. Have the rules changed or have Rovers decided to play anyway? It seems we are particularly affected by OFW and ABB's absences, given our small squad.
 
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To answer BBTC, I think you need three call-ups to request a postponement. I agree with most of Boz's initial comments, but I think it is likely we will play the diamond formation again gven that both Robbo and Baggie are missing. This is really a must win game considering the potentially tougher fixtures we have to come, and with many of our creative players missing and the negative approach usually favoured by Westley's teams, it is unlikely to be an attractive game.

Three points is more important than beautiful football at the moment though, so hopefully we can grind out a win.
 

bigmart

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think we will draw 1 1 and crowd about 4200
 

Ian

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Lads are really going to have to grind out a result here. If we don't see maximum effort, it's going to be a difficult day. Really need those 3 points though. 1-0 Rovers.
 
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Frustrating. The game panned out much as I had expected, with an incredibly negative Stevenage team happy to get ten men behind the ball, waste time, break up play and hang on for a point. If every side played the way Westley's teams do there would be fewer football supporters.

Our play was not scintillating but I thought we created enough to have won the game, with 5 or 6 decent half chances and two very unlucky efforts off the post. We just needed one of the shots off the woodwork to bounce in on a day when it was always going to be difficult to break down the opposition.

The defence was untroubled, with Dugdale looking very solid and it is good to keep another clean sheet. I thought Lowe worked tirelessly up front without great service, while Atkinson was probably the best of the midfield three. Max Power is really struggling for form at the moment and did not look comfortable on the left side and our lack of width on that side limited our attacking options.

It is disappointing that we failed to beat such poor opposition at home and it is not pleasant to see us rooted in the bottom half. At least we are looking solid at the back again, so hopefully we can pull off a shock win against Brentford next week.
 
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Ian

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I'd pretty much agree with the above. It is frustrating that we can't break through teams like this at home. Having said that we were unlucky hitting the woodwork twice and we did have some other efforts on goal. Much more than Stevenage were Rooney was a spectator for most of the game.

Wasn't a great game to watch though. Dugdale looked OK but needs a sterner test of his abilities. I've been saying this for weeks now but we really need to be getting Lowe more chances throughout the game. He worked well today but he's doing too much running around. We need him to be in and around the box so he can have a stab at chances that come his way.

We were never going to lose that game, but we need to impose ourselves more at home if we are to get into the top half of the table.
 

Boz

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A few surprises in the team selection/deployment. I thought Dugdale was meant to be cover for Goodi, so surprised to see Ash Taylor dropped. Dugdale did well though. Power was played out of position, so can make allowances. Would have preferred to see Lowe as the central of the strikers rather than out wide. No Kirby on the bench; presume injured? Felt that if Ronnie wanted to bring Sodje on (good in the air, average at best on the deck), he should have kept Thommo on to supply some crosses. Alternatively put Stockton on and deploy JLAA out wide.

I was expecting a much worse game. Stevenage weren't that bad on time-wasting and Westley didn't try to referee the game, adopting a low profile by his standards. Not that he could have done any worse than the man in the middle, who was inconsistency personified. We should probably have had a penalty first half, the only thing that causes me to doubt was the lack of protest from Lowe when it was turned down.

Overall we probably deserved to win this, but a combination of the woodwork (twice) and lack of ingenuity in the final third prevented it. No real stand-out for MoM, Lowe shades it for me given his all-round effort.
 

Ian

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Thompson was awful yesterday. He should have been replaced at half time.
Regarding the penalty shouts, think we had three, only one looked suspect in the first half on Lowe.

The others looked like desperate attempts to win a penalty.
 

bigmart

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We were the better team but we wernt much good either, two good shots that hit the post but the rest were half chances which against a team that poor is rather disappointing.

Lowe had a decent game and worked hard, the full backs both did well but we are too slow in movement & decision making. Sodje when he came on could hardly move, Stockton should be ahead of him in the pecking order.
 

Ian

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Sodje when he came on could hardly move, Stockton should be ahead of him in the pecking order.
I'd agree with that. He doesn't bring anything new to the team.
 
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I agree that Stockton should be considered ahead of Sodje, but I thought the switch in the front men near the end was quite effective and did cause confusion in their back four. There were a few desperate scrambles which we might have equalised from. Sodje's ability in the air will have its uses in the months ahead.
 

Boz

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Thompson was awful yesterday. He should have been replaced at half time.
I think that's a bit hard on him, Ian. It seemed he was unnerved by a harsh booking early on and went quiet for a period. However, in the second half, when he was over my side of the pitch, he seemed to link quite well with Holmes , did a fair amount of defensive cover work and varied his distribution. He's never going to be the traditional winger going to the by-line and beating men for fun though.

On Sodje, we were mainly playing the ball on the ground rather than in the air both before and after he came in, which is not his forte. On this occasion, Stockton would have carried more threat because of the way we were playing.
 
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Thinking about the result, it was worse than I hoped for but better than I feared. We kept a clean sheet with two new players in the back five. We were a little unlucky with our shooting and could have pinched a win. Now we need to create more chances, which means improvements in midfield. Given that our most creative players (Wallace, Koumas and Robinson) were injured but should be back soon, I feel more positive.
 

frenchrover

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I'm afraid there isn't a cat in hells chance of Wallace coming back soon, if EVER. The groin strain to Koumas doesn't bode well for his longer term fitness either so that really only leaves an "injured" Robinson to return which in my view leaves us very depleted in the creative mid-field areas.
 

Ian

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We are really going to struggle with injuries I think this season. Wallace is crocked. Goody is an old man. Robinson always has injuries and isn't getting any younger, and Koumas hasn't played for 2 years. Sadly these are all our best players!
 

Boz

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While not in the same league as the above, Kirby is also going to be out for the next game cutting down our options further.
 

drwhoman

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With all the creative midfielders injured I am not sure why Ronnie has not gone for a loan player. I was very disappointed to see that Teixeira, the very talented Liverpool reserve midfielder from Portugal has gone to Brentford for six months. I have seen him a few times playing for the Pool Reserves and he would have had a lot to offer. Could be the 'next big thing' after Sterling. Still there we are. Left with a threadbare team full of honest triers. Very depressing. Staying in Division One is the best we can hope for and we are not half way through September yet!
 
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With all the creative midfielders injured I am not sure why Ronnie has not gone for a loan player. I was very disappointed to see that Teixeira, the very talented Liverpool reserve midfielder from Portugal has gone to Brentford for six months.

I doubt we could afford his wages and Brentford are probably one of the few teams in League One who have got the resources to take him, with a wage budget about four times the size of our own. But I agree that it is frustrating that Liverpool and Everton never seem to do us the favour of passing their most promising youngsters our way: the players we do get, such as Wallace and Baxter, are very good players but were on their way out of Goodison by the time they were loaned to us.
 
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