Gary McSheffrey laid down a challenge to his Rovers side to deliver in Sky Bet League Two action after their impressive show of character in the Papa John’s Trophy win at Lincoln City.
Rovers came from a goal down to beat League One opposition, end a run of three consecutive defeats, and top Northern Group E in the competition.
McSheffrey urged his players to carry the response into Saturday’s clash with Crawley Town at the Eco-Power Stadium to ensure they get back on track in the league.
McSheffrey on how the game played out:
“I’m really pleased with the win and the attacking performance in the last 30-35 minutes. We created lots.
“In the first half we had to defend. We had to be organised and disciplined. They struggled to break us down a bit. They had a few set plays and served the box quite well but we defended it.
“In the second half, they got the early goal and you’re thinking it could go either way. The lads could lose their confidence a bit after a few defeats and you’re 1-0 down against a good team. It wasn’t as if they put a Papa John’s team out in terms of kids - they went with strength in their tight-knit squad barring one or two.
“It was a real good performance from the lads. And the response from going 1-0 down was really pleasing.
“We made a couple of subs to get experience on in key areas and I thought Kyle Knoyle when he came on. Charlie Seaman was really good going forward and disciplined in midfield when he moved up.
“It was nice for Kyle Hurst to get on and get a goal. The only disappointment was Luke Molyneux not getting his first goal with his chance at the end.
“I think it was a really good collective performance from 50 minutes on. I’m really pleased with the response against a good team.”
On responding to a setback:
“It could have gone either way. It’s pleasing.
“Obviously it’s a cup game, and now the challenge is to replicate that and do it in the league.
“It’s nice to stop the rot of the three defeats and pleasing for the win.
“But it’s straight onto Saturday now and attention turns to Crawley.”
On returning players:
“We’ve got some good minutes into the legs of Ben Close, Joseph Olowu, Aidan Barlow and some of the boys that haven’t been getting the Saturday minutes.
“It was really good to see them back out there. Ben got stuck in, got a yellow card early on so he was living on the edge.
“I think those boys did well and the lads that came on too.
“We’ve got two or three good players coming back into the mix. It gives you a headache in terms of selection.
“But ultimately there are shirts up for grabs because performances haven’t been acceptable in the last couple games. They’ve been below par and acceptable.”
On Charlie Seaman’s performance:
“It was a real mature performance from him.
“They were getting a bit of joy on his side in the first half with the diagonal. It’s hard to defend when you do it with such quality, the left back playing so high and Vernam running in. Charlie is almost thinking who do I mark?
“He recovered really well and we defended the crosses well.
“Second half he was excellent. I always bang on to the lads that recovery runs are sprints, they’re not jogs back, we get back behind the ball quickly.
“Charlie’s had some lung-busting runs in this one but his deliver was good and his discipline when he moved into midfield was very good, picking up second balls.”
On Adam Long’s goal:
“It was great for him. I think in the first half he was a bit tentative, without making errors but having a couple of touches when one would do. He just needed to move the ball quicker.
“But in the second half it looked like he was playing more off instinct. His slide tackles, his interceptions, his headers.
“And it was brilliant for him to pop up at the back stick with the winner.”
On the boost of returning to winning ways:
“It can bring some confidence to the boys, of course.
“You have to take confidence from this one. We’ve come to a League One club who are doing really well and came into this one on the back of two excellent wins and it’s their same squad of players.
“This has to give them belief. It has been a tough couple of weeks for everyone.
“This is by no means us cracking it. It’s just football and it’s a good response.
“There’s the next game to turn a negative into a positive and we’ve done that.”