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McSheffrey disappointed but heartened as Rovers' season draws to a close

1 May 2022

Gary McSheffrey says there are plenty of players in the Rovers squad disappointed to see the season end after finding form late in the campaign.

Rovers ended the campaign with a 1-1 draw at Oxford United, a result which confirmed relegation from Sky Bet League One.

While bitterly disappointed with the outcome of the season, McSheffrey was pleased to see his side continue their positive recent form heading into the summer.

McSheffrey on how the game played out:

“I thought it was a good performance. They obviously hit the post and Jacko [Ben Jackson] cleared one off the line towards the end but we’ve missed some good chances and opportunities to finish them off at 1-1.

“I felt like we were controlling the game for the first 20 minutes but we’ve made some poor decisions and a couple of silly errors. The one key one in the first half, they’ve scored from.

“I felt like we got back in it. We kept a clean sheet in the second half, which we challenged the players to do, to win a half of football. They’ve done that and played well.

“We could have come away with all three points and we’re disappointed not to.

“We’ve found a bit of momentum in performance level and we have to be happy with how they’ve played again.

“I think at times we tried to overplay in certain areas. We’ve got good players but it’s never bad to turn it in behind defenders and get us up the pitch. If you’re a bit too risky in the middle of the park it can really cost you against fast attackers like Oxford have got.

“The decision making could have been better on three or four occasions but barring that I think it was another really good performance.”

On the final few weeks of the season:

“We’ve got players in the changing room that don’t want the season to end. Some are just getting up to speed.

“We’ve had injured players coming back and feeling match fit now, Adam Clayton is playing games and feeling match fit. Josh Martin is feeling a threat and match fit after not playing much in the first half of the season.

“They’ve enjoyed their football and among all the disappointment of getting relegated, they’ve actually performed well for six or seven games.

“We’ve got the capabilities to be a good team.”

On recruitment:

“I feel the ones that came in added quality. There was some good recruitment done in January.

“We have to build on that now. We’ve got a good core with some good numbers and we have to sprinkle in maybe three or four good players around them and replace a few of our good loans that we’ll lose to continue what we’ve been doing for the last six weeks.”

On the make-up of the squad:

“There were three loan players that started this game - Jacko, Smudge [Matt Smith] and Josh [Martin] and they’ll obviously go back to their parent clubs, along with Ethan [Galbraith] and Mipo [Odubeko].

“The majority of them are contracted for next year and there’s a couple that we need to talk to.

“There will be finances available and we have to recruit wisely and retain wisely as well.

“The club hold the cards on a few players, because we have options in their contracts.

“We’ll offer some contracts and release some players.”

On relegation being confirmed:

“It’s not nice but we’ve been performing better and we’ve got some consistency.

“I think taking it to the 46th game before we’ve got the R next to our name, the lads have done well in recent weeks to do that.

“We’ve had so many opportunities to gain an extra 12 or 15 points but at those moments we didn’t have enough quality, and that’s the disappointing thing.”

On bouncing back:

“It’s going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of organisation and having a structure of being hard to beat. Not conceding nowhere near as many goals as we have this season.

“And you need goals from your midfield areas and your attackers, and you need your defenders to chip in.

“If you break down your goals you probably need 40 to 45 from your attackers, 25 from your midfield areas and another 15 or so from your defenders. You score 80-odd goals and you’re up there.

“We definitely need to score more goals and keep it out of our net at the other end. It sounds obvious, but it is.

“I think the work we’ve done, we’ve been in every game more or less since Cheltenham. We’ve had a couple of defeats but we’ve been in the games and we’ve got the performance level.

“I think we can start the season well.

“The rest now is just from matchdays. We’re still going to be working, I’ll be coming in most games.

“It’ll be good to start with a clean slate, on zero points and hopefully not feel like you’re playing catch up all the time and being the underdog in the next game.”

On the travelling support:

“They’ve been brilliant. Every away game since I took charge, they’ve been brilliant.

“At home they’ve been coming in their numbers as well.

“We just want to thank them for all their support and sticking with us.

“We’re going to need that from pre-season as well, to all be together so we can get to where we want to be.”


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