In his usual pre-match article, @roversillitoe92 looks ahead to tomorrow’s game against Gillingham.
Rovers produced one of the best attacking displays in many a year on Tuesday night but the visit of Gillingham on Saturday is a test Mowbray’s men have yet to overcome.
Despite a ten minute nervous wobble on Tuesday night, Rovers were excellent. Wave after wave of attack, a variety of shots with many scratching their heads as to how it was only a 2-0 result.
A different system that incorporated Samuel, Antonsson and Dack worked wonders going forward. Unleashing the impressive Chapman at the right time all added to a successful night under the Ewood lights.
Saturday brings a test that Mowbray’s men have yet to overcome. Rovers have been impressive against the top sides so far, wins against Bradford, Scunthorpe and the likes. These have been overshadowed by defeats to Southend, Doncaster and AFC Wimbledon.
Rovers have so far played five sides in the top half, winning four and drawing one. An impressive record. They’ve also played four sides in the bottom half, winning one and losing three and taking three points from a possible twelve.
This quite obviously is the reason the club isn’t in a higher position in the League One table. Despite still having a game in hand, Rovers are yet to break in to the top six of the league. Something they will hope to do this weekend.
Gillingham currently sit in the league’s bottom four but have only been on the back of one or two poor defeats. This isn’t a game where Rovers will steamroll their opponents. With the experienced Peter Taylor as the Gills manager, they will always pose threat.
On the road is where Gillingham have struggled. Taylor’s men have scored just one goal in five attempts, though that came in their only point on the road at AFC Wimbledon. What Gillingham showed on Tuesday night will have Rovers worried.
The Gills held Scunthorpe to a 0-0 draw last Tuesday playing in a tight, compact and disciplined system. Taylor had them well drilled. Every player knew his job and they all worked hard for one another.
Mowbray’s men, as mentioned earlier, have yet to overcome a side who have sat nine men behind the ball, been disciplined in their system and most importantly been well drilled. Mowbray will have been working hard to bring a new identity to Rovers play.
At times, it will be a chess match on Saturday, trying to draw out players and bring out the mistakes in the opponents. Gillingham will do exactly what they did to Scunthorpe. Sit tight, play deep in their half and try to frustrate Rovers at every given opportunity.
Given that this is the case, the Ewood faithful have their part to play. Far too easily at home, the supporters have got frustrated at the lack of a passage of play or the same old possession. In games like these, that is simply going to happen.
The players need to know that you are with them. Away from home, many players say just how they felt lifted when they hear the songs being sung. They almost feel they’ve an extra man.
At home at times, its been very different. Fans becoming frustrated oh too easily. Particularly in games that will play out as predicted come Saturday. If things aren’t coming off, give them a lift, belt out a song, try and make some noise. To show that you’re with the players. Encouraging at every yard.
From a player’s point of view, these types of games aren’t just physically draining, they’re mentally draining too. Overthinking the next passage of play, a glance too many at the scoreboard, the agitation of watching the clock as it ticks nearer to full time. So, a bit more encouragement might just make that player run that extra yard, it could make all the difference.
All in all, a win here for Rovers wouldn’t just be any ordinary three points. It would be a real coming together and a message to say we can break teams like that down. We are confident enough to win games in different ways.
Its been a testing couple of weeks for everyone connected with the football club recently. Questions have been raised and one or two fingers have been pointed. A win, however it may come on Saturday, would see everyone breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Enjoy the game.
We will have all our usual build-up to tomorrow’s game against Gillingham, so make sure you keep checking back to see all the articles!
We had an interview with former Rovers player and Premier League winner, Mark Atkins!