Ryan On The Record: Rovers chairman on squad strength, festive fixtures and MK Dons

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THE last week has been a difficult one and it has shown up the fact that we have a small squad.

I had to smile when I read Oldham manager Paul Dickov’s programme notes last Saturday when he said that we have strength in depth.

He was referring to us going into the league game on the Tuesday with Sammy Clingan, Robbie Blake and Jamie McCombe on the bench.

This week we have seen injuries and a sickness bug begin to affect the squad.

It is imperative that we do go into the second half of the season with numbers and quality in the squad.

And with regards to boosting our squad I know that Dean will be looking to sort deals for Iain Hume, Sammy Clingan and Andy Griffin ahead of the January window.

At Oldham on Saturday we played well in the first 25 minutes, Blake took his goal well and we could have been out of sight.

The Latics then came back into the game and they played well in the second half.

Lady Luck then deserted us at Crewe on Tuesday night where we turned out a side containing several promising players who have come through our youth team.

They all played well and the team showed its battling qualities to equalise at the death.

The penalties did not go our way and we were out of our second cup competition in the space of four days.

Having said that, I make no bones that our real intention this season is to go for the league.

It is some task covering the 46 league games with the number of players we have without the added responsibilities of the cups.

Hopefully we’ll take a strong side to Swindon on Saturday and get three vital points.

I just hope that Billy Paynter, who had a great time down there and scored a hatful of goals for Swindon, is fit.

The team spirit within the camp is there for all to see.

I hope that with something in the bag from Saturday we can then push on to have a fruitful two home games with Coventry City and then MK Dons, so that by Christmas we are well and truly at the top of the tree.

They are two very attractive fixtures and having been impressed by the Keepmoat atmosphere in the last two games with Scunthorpe and Oldham, I do hope it can be replicated over the next two games.

It was nice to see our old favourite Neil Sullivan in excellent form for AFC Wimbledon in last Sunday’s televised FA Cup second round tie with MK Dons.

Neil acquitted himself very well and he had no chance with either goal.

MK Dons is an odd club in some ways.

I have every sympathy with the Wimbledon supporters.

It is about time they now dropped the ‘Dons’ from their name and just became Milton Keynes FC.

It goes against all principals and morals in the game of football.

Just think what would happen if my partners and I took Doncaster Rovers to Guildford.

It really surprised me when the Football League gave permission in the first place and one hopes they never do again.

This is not America.

Rovers Till I Die

John Ryan