Something For The Weekend (37)
Well the last game and the end to the season didn`t quite go to plan and certainly wasn`t how anyone would have wanted to finish as we lost 2-0 to Dagenham and 2-0 to Redbridge. Not quite the debut new signing for next year young Connor Gough would have hoped for in goal as he was hurriedly signed on loan to cover for an injured Scott Bevan. Quite the baptism of fire for Mr Gough. There was also some bad news for the deserved player of the year Danny Woodards who suffered a broken leg and will probably miss quite a bit of pre-season. Bad news for Danny and horrible way for his season to finish after his consistent performance, but his misfortune is also an opportunity for Michael Smith to really impress and perhaps make the position his own next season.
Overall the season has been disappointing finishing 13th but since the aforementioned change of manager things have looked a little brighter and 13th certainly looks more pretty than what might have been. As good as we have been at home at times since Mark McGhee took over we have often been poor away from home and this is something that will need to be addressed as I am sure it will be by Mr McGhee. The summer will probably also be a busy time for player recruitment as I am sure we all agree we need to strengthen the team with the amount of loan players we have in the squad currently. Assuming that all the loan players go back Centre-halves, centre-midfield, right midfield and another striker are musts to be addressed. Now I know there are people who also think the Goalkeeping position needs to be improved and I will happily take a better 'Keeper if available on the right deal, but we do have an adequate one at the moment and the gaping holes in the squad need to be addressed first. I think with some of the loan players being here so long it is easy to forget they are not actually contracted to us.
On the subject of signings, Elliot Richards has signed an extension along with Ollie Clarke. Now we all know about Elliot, but perhaps not so much Ollie who has been coming back from a nasty injury. I have seen Ollie play all be it at Mangotsfield and he certainly has something about him and can certainly pick a pass. Whether he is good enough for league level well, that remains to be seen. Also four of the young scholars Ellis Harrison, Jordan Goddard, Ross Staley and Mitch Harding have all been offered pro deals with Mitch Harding coming off the bench to make his debut in the defeat to Dagenham. Hopefully we can see these young lads push on and break into the first team in the next few years. Some people were surprised that Darren Jeffries and Lamar Powell were not offered deals, and I am sure that the decisions on all the lads not offered deals were tough. Good luck to all those young guys in whatever they do.
Moving away from Rovers, this weekend sees (if you`re interested that is) the last set of games in The Premier League where Manchester City look favourites to win the league, although I am sure plenty of Man U fans will be hoping for a QPR upset. It is Manchester City`s to throw away but I feel that it won`t quite be as easy as some think it will be. QPR will want something to guarantee that they stay up, especially if Bolton can beat Stoke (which I think is probably the game to follow). Outside of those issues the Champions League places are up for grabs and I have to be honest I hope Arsenal finish 5th or miss out because Chelsea win the Champions League. I`d like to see Spurs and Newcastle in the competition and make a change from the usual suspects (Amongst other reasons).
Outside of the Prem, the Championship play-off final is set to see West Ham face Ollie`s Blackpool and I am sure many people will be cheering on the Tangerines. Good luck to Ollie and his team and I hope to see them brightening up the Premier League again.
Well that`s me for a few weeks, but I reckon I will be back to talk about the Euros and The England squad and our chance (or lack of). Personally I`m hoping Roy Hodgson roles the dice and picks a few different players like Grant Holt, Scott Sinclair or Nathan Dyer as we don`t have much to lose and do we really want to see the same old faces that have failed before do we.
nyway whatever you are up to have a great weekend, I`m hopefully going to be camped in front of my TV
atching The Giro d`Italia and the wonderful scenery wishing I was there. UTG!
imon 'Sprout` Phillips