Bristol Rovers manager Ian Atkins was conspicuous by his absence from Huish Park today after he spent the two days before the match doing his best to stir up ill-feeling between the two local rivals. The Rovers boss left assistant manager Kevan Broadhurst to answer the following questions to the press having been defeated 4-2 at Huish Park yesterday:
Qu: Kevan, a bad day all round then for Bristol Rovers?
KB: It started badly this morning, losing Steve Elliot and John Anderson, so we knew that we were going to struggle with the injuries that we have had. We have lost Ali Gibb, Dave Savage and Kevin Miller. Lee Thorpe went this week but to lose those two centre halves, just left us very very short. I had a real panic when Lescott went down because if you look at the bench, it just was not strong. I was left with a schoolboy, a college kid, three strikers and our problems where defensive. We would like to think of ourselves as a big club but if you look at their bench and what they had to bring on and what we had to bring on today, we are miles apart.
Qu: No Ian Atkins today, what was wrong with Ian to stop him from coming to Huish Park today?
KB: Ian has been ill for about four weeks and I think that he has probably infected everyone in the club over the last month. It turns out that he has got bronchitis I think. He is not well at all and needs to clear it up as it is affecting us massively. I have never known him miss a game, so that is how bad it is in the camp. We have got lots of excuses if we want to use them.
Qu: Any positives to gain out of that performance?
KB: I still thought for twenty-five minutes we were excellent. We moved the ball well and I donít think that they could compete with us and we got our lead which we deserved but we just lacked belief.
Qu: You beat Grimsby 3-0 last week and everyone was talking about the play-offs, is that a bit too ambitious now?
KB: No. We will just keep going and working hard. We have got to stop conceding penalties. It was the sixth penalty that we have conceded away from home this season. We have got to stop conceding poor goals and see where we finish. If it is on the play-offs then great but if it is not, then we will have to do it next year. We need help as the squad isnít big enough. Somebody has got to bring in players from somewhere as our players are injured. If Lescott is out we havenít got a right back at the club, other than Ali Gibb who is injured, so we have got to have some help or we will continue as we are.