Bristol Rovers manager Ben Garner(Image: Ryan Hiscott/JMP)

Bristol Rovers boss Ben Garner remains focused on long-term project despite winless start at the Gas

The Gas boss is not panicking despite going 11 games without a win.


Despite a chastening start to life as Bristol Rovers manager, Ben Garner’s focus remains on achieving long-term success for the Gas.

The 39-year-old is without a win in the 11 games he has been in the Rovers dugout, but he remains committed to his plans and believes their fortunes will turn soon.

Calls for Garner to go have increased in recent weeks with a maiden victory proving elusive, but he sees his team improving game by game, and day by day on the training ground .  

“This week has been a really good week for us in terms of the performance Tuesday on a very difficult pitch was very good, but also the lads that didn’t play have trained really well,” he said.
Bristol Rovers manager Ben Garner.(Image: Robbie Stephenson/JMP)

“The environment and the culture we’re trying to create and the situation we want around the training ground, in terms of competition for places, is getting better and better and much closer to where I want it to be, so that’s a real positive.

“It’s not just the players in the team, I want headaches and unfortunately I’m going to have to upset people every week with decisions, but that’s the culture we want here.”

Some elements of the club’s fanbase appear to be losing patience with the new regime, but Garner appears to have the backing of the majority of the support for now.

Rovers are almost certainly safe from relegation from League One, and Garner appears to be under little short-term pressure from the club's ownership who support his plans to build for next season and beyond.

He believes his side have been on the wrong side of some rough luck lately, with the three points secured from the past five games far less than what performances have merited.

Garner sees the route to reversing their fortunes coming from hard work, and his players are only growing in motivation to halt this slump against managerless Blackpool at the Mem on Saturday.

“If anything, I think it’s just making us more determined,” Garner said. “It’s an extra motivation for us.

“Over the past two or three weeks there has been a continual build, and I see that again this week, so I’m expecting a performance that goes up a notch again tomorrow.

“We’ve just got to keep working hard. It’s the old Gary Player saying that the harder you work, the luckier you get, so that’s very much our focus.

“Control the controlables, keep working on the processes day in, day out and for me we’re owed goals.

“Over a period of time it evens out, but we’ve certainly had missed opportunities and a bit of bad fortune, and we just need that win that we keep speaking about, but I’m sure it will come and hopefully tomorrow, and it will give us an extra lift moving forwards.”

The Rovers boss would be forgiven for being consumed by concern for their short-term fortunes, but he insists his thinking remains focused on instigating a sustainable period of success for the Gas.

“From a football perspective, yes we want to do well as a team,” he said. “Ultimately we want to get promoted to the Championship, but we also want to develop individual players.

“Say next season, if we target promotion and we don’t achieve it, but we’ve raised player values significantly, then I think for a club like Rovers that’s success.

“We need to look at it from both perspectives, we want to get the best out of every single player here and the best out of the team, and it’s important that every player buys into the ethos that the team will always come first. Every decision is made for the group.

“It’s still very much early days. I’ve still only had one week of complete training where we’ve been able to work through from Saturday to the following Saturday.

“The attitude of the players, their application in training and their desire to learn and improve has been outstanding, and it’s a really good group.

“We’ve got a really nice balance between top senior pros, that are really good in the dressing room and passing down information to younger players, and we’ve now got more of an undercurrent of young talent to challenge and push in.

“I think it bodes well for the future and the more time we have on the training ground, the better it's going to get.”