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Atko's Engine

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    League One


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  1. Atko's Engine

    Nicky Marker and Ben Thornley

    He'd be sent off for that only if he'd not already been sent off for ungentlemanly conduct for showing his arse to the BBE before the match...
  2. Atko's Engine

    Rovers v Leeds, Ewood, 12.00 KO, 20th October

    I can't see 25k on but maybe 22-23 is the best we can expect. What we need to do is get at the from the off and do what we can to shut them 7,000 up. It'll be a tough game this, if that's not stating the obvious, but we've got to back ourselves and be on the front foot. They'll come with their usual confidence & swagger but I think it's brittle and they'll collapse if we approach this right. They've got a few injuries to cope with, plus yesterday they had Ayling sent off and Jansson ought to cop a ban for his post match comments about the ref, so they may be relying on a few square legs in round holes themselves - something we'll need to make the most of.
  3. Atko's Engine

    Bolton vs Rovers

    OK, so now we've reached the second international break let's take a step back and take stock. If the aim is survival, we're on track. If the aim is championship consolidation, we're on track. If the aim is reaching the playoffs, we're on track. If the aim is outright promotion, we're in a decent position from which to attack. Let that sink in. A year ago, none of us would have dared believe we'd be in this position, so I think we can be v pleased with where we are. Do we deserve it? Overall yes, absolutely. We got lucky today to some extent but that cancels out one of the 93rd minute minor disasters. If we'd beaten Ipswich but drawn today, we'd be in exactly the same position but would the sentiment from so many be so underwhelming? I doubt it! It's worth noting Wigan got stuffed 4-0 at bottom 3 side Preston today. Bottom 3 side Ipswich won at Swansea. Stoke won at Norwich. There's no easy or predictable games in this league!! Grinding out unconvincing points is a cornerstone to any team's success... Are we perfect? Hell no; we got a mauling on Weds night - but then Sheff Utd now sit pretty at the top. We're work in progress, building a team ethos to go with the spirit. TM knows this, and his post match comments show he's not resting on his laurels or taking anything for granted. I remain really excited about what this group can achieve with proper guidance, support & time; if we're in this position now with all the uncertainty / rough edges about players like Raya, Lenihan, Williams, Nyambe, Rodwell, Smallwood, Evans, Armstrong, Brereton, think what Rovers could be like in a few months' time once they have another 20 or so games under their collective belts... Roll on Leeds!!!!!
  4. Atko's Engine

    Ben Brereton

    My own take on Brereton. He needs to be given time by us all , all the skating he's getting you'd think he was a seasoned pro. He's 19 and has been here for barely longer than 6 weeks, of which 1 of those was away with England. He's here for what, 4 or 5 years? I don't think we'll start to see the real player for a few months yet, needs to get his feet under the table. What I saw from him on Wednesday night was something different to what Graham offers. He's tall but not as strong or game savvy as Graham, but he clearly has pace and intelligence. He looks like he wants to play off the shoulder of his defender, and made 3 or 4 arching runs but wasn't picked out by the man on the ball, meaning his contribution was worthless. If he keeps making those runs, he'll get played in eventually and can chase the ball down the channels or in towards goal, leaving space behind for others (Bennett, Dack, Rothwell, Palmer, whoever) to fill and support. I think once this approach becomes embedded in the team it will prove very fruitful, and add to our variety of play. As for the lace tying, he'd had his foot trodden on in a challenge, which seemed to dislodge his boot. So he had to take the boot off, then untie the laces in order to put the boot back on again and then tie it up. It took him about a minute whilst play went on around him. I think too much is being made of it by some who seem keen to knock him whenever & however they can. That's not going to help anyone, so I urge everyone not to prejudge him, expect too much too soon & just give the boy a chance.
  5. Atko's Engine

    ROVERS v Sheff Utd

    That was certainly the case on Wednesday I agree, and was amplified by us also not having Nyambe & Bennett together on the right side providing support, as we have done most of the season to reasonably good effect in most people's eyes. We should definitely aim to have more variety in our play though (I'll comment more on this in the Brereton thread later), and I'm quietly confident that'll come in time if we keep the core of this group together over the coming 12-18 months.
  6. Atko's Engine

    ROVERS v Sheff Utd

    I think I can certainly say that about our other home games. 4 goals in open play at home all season, 1 win, the least crosses and the most long balls. We are very one-dimensional. God help us if Graham gets injured Hmm, I get your point blueboy but since when did goals from open play count more than goals from set pieces? Surely we've done something good in open play to get those set pieces in the first place. For example we carved Forest open with good short interplay on several occasions in open play, albeit we only got 2 goals to show for it. How many times have we hit the woodwork from open play at home this season, it's 4 or 5 I think? I agree we could be more clinical at times and are too reliant on Graham & Dack, but we're very much work in progress. I'm sure I speak for everyone on here when I say I'm hoping for Brereton to take weight off Graham's shoulders in time, and for TM to decide on his best first 11 and reliable plans B & C soon.
  7. Atko's Engine

    ROVERS v Sheff Utd

    We were last night, but I don't think you can say that about most other games this season. Dack & Graham both had off nights; we missed Bennett's drive higher up the pitch; and service to Brereton was poor when he came on. We just weren't at the races front to back. Against your Boltons, Rotherhams, QPRs, Sheff Weds etc. I expect (hope!) we'll be far more competitive in order to achieve our realistic season's goal of midtable security. We should definitely start Rothwell though next match in place of Armstrong. I like Armstrong but he needs to play more centrally, Rothwell is far more at ease and creative on the left.
  8. Atko's Engine

    ROVERS v Sheff Utd

    I've not read all the comments on here, not got time, but a skim read through suggests many on here had too high expectations. Last night we were thoroughly outplayed and deserved exactly what we got, but I don't think there's need for words such as "appalling", "disgusting" etc. about our performance. Lethargic yes, tired and out of sorts definitely, but Sheff Utd were superb from the off; it was a perfect performance from them. On one level I'm surprised it's taken this long for us to meet a team like that and be given a reality check of what this league can be like. If we put in a performance like that on Saturday then I'll be concerned, but for now I'll just doff my cap and say well done Sheff Utd.
  9. Atko's Engine

    Rovers vs Forest

    Great game today, proper entertainment which had everything save for a red card. I felt after a slow start we had a really good hour, shouldve taken more chances but then could've lost it near the end too. Of the penalties, I thought the 2nd was a clear dive tho the photo above tempers my anger, but thought also there was a push on Graham at the far post in the first half and a definite foul on Dack in the second. I felt the ref was inconsistent and gave all 50/50s in their favour. Overall though it's a good point, especially if we follow it up on Weds with 3. 7 - Raya. Not that busy, 1 great save, a few good claims, kicking slightly better than usual. Nothing he could do for either goal. 6 - Nyambe. Weaker today than normal, got beat a bit too easily for their first goal I thought. Hope his injury not serious. 7 - Lenihan. Dodgy start n penalty seemed fair enough, but recovered composure well I thought.is still work in progress. 6 - Downing. Average performance, did some good things but definitely not worthy of another start I don't think. Need better backup in Jan as a priority. 5 - Bell. Suspect at back, not as good going forwards as was vaunted. Not taken his chances since Williams' injury. 7 - Bennet. Good industrious performance albeit w/o a match defining contribution. Love him. Grew into the game, just never gives up. 6 - Evans. Solid if unspectacular. Not quite at the heights of previous games. Was he injured? He was stretching a lot before he was subbed. 8 - Smallwood. Really good game, tackled well, tracked well, distributed well generally. Finding his feet hopefully. 8 - Reed. What a gem this lad seems, popped up everywhere, a real pocket rocket. Real good box to box performance, supported front & back well. MOTM. 7 - Dack. Quite quiet overall but had spells where he was just short of pulling off his magic. His understanding with Graham shone through again. 8 - Graham. Great game, strong & wily, doesn't let his head drop, a great role model for centre forward play. Deserved a goal, very unlucky in each half. 6 - Rodwell. Looked assured mainly, if slightly ring rusty at times. Looking forward to seeing more from him. 8 - Armstrong. Caused them lots of problems, lucky goal but made his own luck. Would've been 9 & MOTM if he'd been braver with the 1 on 1. 6 - Rothwell. Did ok but came in at a difficult time just before their equaliser. We never really recovered & he couldn't spark us. Needs a start IMO. 7 - Mowbray. Good team selection given quality of opposition, then looked to make positive changes but I feel he (or others on the bench) should've been more alive to Nyambe's injury, and I think Rothwell on for Evans just left us short of grit in the midfield. But it was an attacking change to extend the lead rather than the usual defensive one to hold a lead - he just can't win can he?! 3 points on Wednesday & I'll be a very happy bunny.
  10. Atko's Engine

    Championship 2018-19

    By the sounds of things we were looking to address all those areas of the squad, but Fielding got injured, & Bauer and Chapman weren't allowed to leave their clubs. It happens and to be fair we can't realistically expect Mowbray to fill every gap in the squad in 1 window when moving up a division.
  11. Atko's Engine


    We were a bit softwaren't we tho at the end there?! 😁
  12. Atko's Engine


    Team spirit is massive for any team, esp in leagues like this. Look where it got our unfancied neighbours a couple of seasons back. Anything is possible at this stage of course, but we can certainly compete with the best in this league. Consistency throughout the season will be key for those wanting to achieve promotion. I can only go off comments and highlights, but as far as the last 10 mins are concerned it was all about Crouch. He caused panic, not surprising due to his height and awkwardness. We're not a tall backline of 5, and without Mulgrew it was very, very young - average age of about 23/24? That experience should teach each of them a hell of a lot, stand them in good stead in their future careers & benefit us as a club. All whilst ultimately not costing us anything on the day, just! Great to get 3 goals from open play. I've heard rowett refer to the goals being gifted to us by their poor defending; he's right to question his defence, but huge credit must go to Graham, Dack, Bennett, Reed, Smallwood & Williams for their parts in 3 excellent goals from our perspective.
  13. Atko's Engine

    Derby vs Rovers post match thread

    I agree it's a tactic with limitations, but it's not Smallwood's fault if those selected around him aren't able to make proper use the balls he wins. Though I accept he can improve his basic passing sometimes; he's far from the complete midfielder! At this stage of the season against the likes of Derby away, I understand a cautious line up from Mowbray, even if it is a tad frustrating. My hope is that as the season progresses and the newbies buy into Mowbray's teamwork ethos , and each player gets to know their teammates' strengths & weaknesses, we'll end up in most games starting with a soldier (seemingly Smallwood, Evans or Reed) alongside of an artist (Rothwell, Davenport or possibly Rodwell) to complement each other. I like the way this could shape up, and if we can grind out some plucky draws against title contenders whilst on the way to that stage then even better.
  14. Atko's Engine

    Derby vs Rovers post match thread

    Bizarre how some posters have Smallwood as MOTM, others say how he was worst player on the pitch. How can that be?? I guess the truth is somewhere in between. I like him, though his abilities are limited. He can do a spoiling job in this type of game. The real plus from all this is that we have Mulgrew, Rodwell, Rothwell, Reed, Davenport, Brereton all to return or start in future games, options a plenty there. They'll all get their chances in a tough, long season and will all most likely contribute to better performances against lesser opposition as the season builds as will Armstrong, Dack & Palmer who by all accounts were fairly anonymous tonight.
  15. Atko's Engine

    Derby vs Rovers post match thread

    Didn't see the game but going off comments and stats it looks like we got away with one, and gained a massive point in so doing. Picking up points whilst not playing well ought to help us achieve our main realistic aim of consolidation. Derby are amongst the favourites and will be far more disappointed than us. They've failed to score against a newly promoted team at home; with their outlay and resources that's quite a big minus for them.

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