Pirates set for smash and grab

  • By: Nick Hext
  • Last Updated: January 9 2013, 16:05 GMT

It has been a bad season for Bristol Rovers and new boss John Ward will certainly receive plenty of praise if he drags the bottom-of-the-table Pirates to safety.

John Ward can guide Rovers to an away win

There have been some signs of improvement since Ward's arrival with a 2-2 draw at Aldershot and 2-1 victory over Plymouth giving fans a bit of hope prior to last weekend's 2-0 defeat against Gillingham.

Losing to the League Two leaders shouldn't create too much extra panic amongst the Rovers faithful as the Gills - along with Port Vale - are clearly the best this division has to offer.

Ward's loan acquisitions of goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall, QPR forward Tom Hitchcock and Colchester midfielder John-Joe O'Toole have given a bit more freshness to the squad and there should be a few more new faces added to the ranks soon.

Saturday sees Rovers make the long trip north to Fleetwood and Joe Anyinsah should be available, and there is a possibility that Jim Paterson and David Clarkson could also feature.

That means - despite the long-term injury to Garry Kenneth - there could be a bit more quality to the Pirates side and that can only boost their survival prospects.

Fleetwood sit in the final play-off place ahead of this clash and now have Graham Alexander in charge after the surprise decision to remove long-serving boss Micky Mellon the first day of December.

So far there have been mixed results under Alexander's leadership and it's only one win for the Cod Army in their previous five home games.

Rovers are rightly the outsiders for Saturday's clash at Highbury but I reckon the 5/1 available for the away victory is worth a little bit of interest.

  • Preview posted at 1615 GMT on 09/01/2013.