Bristol news Rovers' Trophy exit will quickly get forgotten but there will be consequences MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Sam Frost's verdict on Bristol Rovers' 1-0 defeat to AFC Wimbledon in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday and what it means for the Pirates' season
Breaking News ! Who really cares that Bristol Rovers were knocked out if the EFL Trophy on Tuesday? Because the result alone certainly was not the most disappointing part of a wasted evening. Paul Tisdale will quickly forget about this competition with so many games of greater importance looming large on the horizon, and being knocked out at this stage – save for the possibility of an outside chance of a trip to Wembley – should be a blessing with Rovers' calendar chaos in mind. But the Rovers boss will doubtless be frustrated that the fringe players given a chance to play against AFC Wimbledon, who stuttered to a 1-0 win at the Mem, did not capitalise on their opportunity. While the game did not offer much action, it certainly created plenty of talking points. Read More Related Articles Tisdale admits he wanted more from players given chance to impress against AFC Wimbledon Read More Related Articles Bristol Rovers player ratings as the Gas are dumped out of EFL Trophy by AFC Wimbledon A chance missed The Gas stumbled and fumbled their way through the 90 minutes against an almost equally average Dons side, who required a double deflection on Jack Rudoni's 61st-minute strike to beat the unfortunate Joe Day. With so many games stacked up in the remaining weeks and months of the season, the depth of every squad will be tested and Tisdale – if he needed convincing – will be certain further reinforcements are required before the transfer window is locked shut at the end of the month. There were no standout shocker performances. Rather it was a case of fives and sixes out of 10 when players needed to offer much more to send the message to Tisdale that they demand a place in his starting XI for the serious stuff of League One. Follow Bristol Rovers Live on social media Keep up to all the latest from the Mem via our Facebook page dedicated to the Gas You can also follow us on Twitter @BristolLiveBRFC Our Rovers reporter Sam Frost will also keep you up-to-date with all the goings-on at the club @frosty920 The one mitigating factor is the fact eight changes is likely to cause a team to lose their flow, but the Gas never rediscovered it throughout the encounter. It would be fair to question the manager's selections and tactics with a day out at Wembley prize for a few more wins in this tournament, but he probably got the balance right in the context of the season and Rovers' priorities. Key players should return well rested for the visit of Charlton Athletic on Saturday and Tisdale learned plenty more about the makeup of his squad. Rovers have a solid core of 12-14 players who are more than capable to make an impact at that level, but there are question marks how other members of the squad fit into the puzzle as it stands. A general view of play during the Papa John's Trophy match between Bristol Rovers and AFC Wimbledon at the Memorial Stadium. (Image: Dan Mullan/Getty Images) For some players, loan spells away appear increasingly likely. While many players on the fringes have talent and potential, the manager's assessment is they don't have the nous required for the relegation battle Rovers are fighting until the day they force their way out of it.
. His exile by Ben Garner cost him his squad number as well as his place at the club, and it was strange to see him back in a blue and white quartered shirt wearing the number 42. Truthfully, it was a difficult game for Ogogo, who can be forgiven for some rustiness after very little training time with the Gas and spending the past few months playing in non-league for Dagenham & Redbridge.
Abu Ogogo of Bristol Rovers.
(Image: Ryan Hiscott/JMP)
But there were some vintage Ogogo moments, too. A booming 50/50 tackle and the sound of boot crunching ball only echoed louder around the empty stands at the Mem springs to mind, plus a courageous attempt to win a loose ball that saw him caught by a nasty high challenge. The way he plays won't change and his return to the Mem has delighted some fans, who doubtless would have roared in approval for Ogogo's tough tackle had they been allowed in the ground. A bit-part role, perhaps when Tisdale needs a combative presence to manager he team through a difficult moment late in a game, seems the most likely at the moment, but Ogogo is certain to attack the challenge of winning a regular starting spot with the same gusto he displays on the pitch. The Barrett experiment Tisdale is certainly an admirer Josh Barrett, another player excluded from the first-team squad by Garner, and the manager is keen to find where he can fit him in his team. With few minutes in his legs over recent months, it is a tough ask to displace first-choice playmaker Erhun Oztumer as the number 10, Zain Westbrooke as the deeper-lying creative midfielder, or Sam Nicholson from the winger or second striker roles he typically occupies.
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With Tisdale cautious in his use of Jonah Ayunga last night to preserve his fitness for the games ahead, Barrett was given the chance to play in the unfamiliar role of a central striker, flanked by Ali Koiki and Alex Rodman in wide roles. It looked a bit cobbled together on paper, and so it proved. That constellation of players is unlikely to work without slick, possession-based build up play through the pitch, and the trio were often fending off more direct service without the hold-up ability required to make the ball stick. Tisdale likes the idea of having Barrett in his team, but he needs to find where the 22-year-old best fits.
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