sport

Ward: Morale vital for survival

John Ward says his first task as Bristol Rovers' new manager will be to bring back the feel-good factor to the club.

The Pirates have won just four times this season and only once since mid-October, statistics which mean they sit in the League Two relegation zone ahead of the visit of Rotherham on Saturday.

And Ward, who was unveiled as Mark McGhee's successor on Monday afternoon, knows that getting his players smiling again will be crucial if they are going to retain their Football League status.

"Morale is vital, we have got to get that lifted," he said. "When you are losing games and going away to places and losing 4-1 and 4-0 you need a lift as a player and something to change.

"It sounds a bit schoolboyish but it is important that this is the first ingredient that we get and it is my job to install that and put that into their minds.

"As long as we are pulling in the same direction it gives us a good chance."

Ward, out of work since leaving Colchester in September, was set to travel to Devon to be Plymouth's new director of football before a weekend phone call from Rovers chairman Nick Higgs.

"I was waiting for my 10-year-old grandson's team to kick off on Sunday morning and I got this phone call," he said. "I was with my family and I was able to discuss it with them straight away.

"They knew that it was something I wanted to do, because of the club."