Danny Schofield has no concerns over the level of fight being shown by the players currently available as Rovers head into the final three matches of the season.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday’s clash with Newport County at the Eco-Power Stadium, Schofield said battling spirit is the bare minimum he wants to see and that he believes his squad have delivered on that front.
On what he wants to see from the final three matches:
“It’s about fight in every single game. Every day our standards and behaviours need to be at the highest level - there’s no other way to do it. We need to work with the players that we have available for selection, we need to keep everyone together fighting first and foremost and competing to the highest level possible.
“We want to win football games. I know the run has been very poor. There is no one more disappointed and upset at that as me and the people in the football club. There is only one way to change that and that’s working hard, having a plan to be able to compete against these teams and to finish in the top half of the league - that’s got to be our target.”
On whether the players are showing fight:
“I feel the players are giving everything. Whoever is selected, the numbers and physical data shows they are out there competing to their physical capability. We’re always analysing the game, watching and speaking to the players. They’re implementing the non-negotiables that I speak about but we’re just falling short in certain areas.”
Schofield on the test of Newport:
“They’ve got a lot of the same principles that they had when we last met. They’re a really competitive team, they have lots of threats in attack, the results have been good and we know the sort of challenge it’s going to be. It was a tough game at their place and we managed to win that game with a moment of quality.
“We feel as though that’s what the game will be again. A lot of the games are decided on moments. First and foremost my team needs to be competitive, which I feel they are and we need to make sure the moments fall in our favour.”
On delivering good performances in the final two home games:
“We speak about the positivity and we need to produce the performances and get the results that allow supporters to be positive and get behind us. It’s the same to move into next season for the supporters as well.”
On chasing a top half finish:
“Wherever you are, I always feel like you’ve got to be looking up, whatever your run of form is. That’s where we are and if we can this season with a bit of momentum and positivity that will carry into the off season and next season.
“Results and performances haven’t been at the level we’ve needed but we feel as though there are things happening at the club that will allow us to move forward. I don’t think the next three games will be the be all, end all of how we go into next season but you do want to finish on a positive note.”
On the health of the squad:
“Tommy Rowe will be on the training pitch on Thursday and Friday and we’ll assess him to see if he’s available on Saturday. Harrison Biggins is in a similar position.
“Louis Jones is nearing fitness. The last part of his rehab is striking the ball with his ankle so he’s at the latter stage of it now. We’re quite optimistic that he’ll be available before the end of the season.
“Kieran Agard suffered an injury on Tuesday which is being assessed and Ben Nelson took a whack on his head that we didn’t notice during the game. He was struggling at half time. Both are doubtful for the weekend.”
On game time for young players:
“They’re very much at the development stages of their career - though I don’t think you ever stop developing. If we had a fully fit squad, would these lads be playing? Probably not. That’s probably common knowledge. These moments are massive learning experiences for the players.
“But, as I’ve said before, they can’t just be learning experiences. We’re here to win football games, not just develop. You are going to be developed but the biggest teacher is playing games. You can train all day long and go through all the clips but when you’re exposed to a Stevenage away for example, it’s massive for their learning. But also, you need to step up and make a huge impact for the team.”