Jay Spearing is confident that Rovers will make the play-offs and has praised the squad’s positive spirits heading into the final five games of the season.
The experienced midfielder is pleased to be back playing after two months on the sidelines.
“I don’t really like being on the sidelines watching the lads when I know I should be out there helping them. Over the years, I have been very fortunate that the injuries I’ve had haven’t kept me out for too long. I’ve been able to keep my head ready to be back in as soon as possible. I just had to stay positive.
“Being in a brace for four weeks was the most difficult part because I was unable to get on the bike or do any fitness at all. I’m feeling better every week and pushing the gaffer to get me back in the team.”
Despite being unable to contribute on the pitch in recent months, Spearing used his leadership skills to motivate the players behind the scenes.
“I went to Barrow away to support the lads in the changing room, as well as every home game and training session to see if they’re okay and chat to them. I was also making sure everyone was alright in the group chats to keep the spirits up and momentum going. Everybody mixes really well and that’s what this group is all about.
“I believe in this group, the staff and the club. We deserve to be confident. We had a little bit of a sticky patch, but every team does. Our sticky patch came in a moment where we didn’t want it to, but it is what it is. We’ve got five games now to go out and prove ourselves and why we should be in the play-offs. If we can do that then we should be in them.”
The 33-year-old spoke about how important it is for the squad to pick up positive results in such a tight league.
“We’re disappointed with where we are at the minute but we’re still striving to do well. I think you’ve seen over the last couple of weeks that a win can bump you up fix or six places so we’re still in the mix. We’ve got five games to go and we are going to give it everything to try and get positive results, starting tomorrow.
“I’ve never seen anything like it to be honest, to drop four or five places after a draw is just mental. It just shows what this league is like. It’s very competitive and there are so many very good teams who deserve to be up there on merit, but so do we. We know our away form should be better. We’ve got a tough game away at Bradford in front of a big crowd, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Spearing identifies that Rovers’ away form needs to be better despite being close in many away matches this season.
“If you look at the games away from home, we haven’t lost them by a big margin. They’ve always been tight games where one goal has lost us the game. It’s just a matter of finding the back of the net. It’s about the here and now. We have five big opportunities to stake our claim for play-offs and nothing to lose. We have to go for it.
“I’d love to go and win the next five, but the away games will be especially vital. We need to show our home form in away matches, and that’s something we want to go and do on Friday in front of a big crowd. If you’re a footballer, you want to be going and playing in front of big crowds. There’s an opportunity for whoever the gaffer picks to go and represent the club and show what they’re all about.
“The Easter period is a big part of the season because the games come thick and fast. We are going to prepare ourselves correctly which we have done all week. There’s good laughter around the lads, but obviously when the work comes, it’s serious. The next two games are going to be difficult. Bradford have obviously got a new manager that we all know very well and they’ll be wanting to put on a show.”
In Spearing’s absence, Lee O’Connor and Lewis Warrington have stepped up and put in some fine performances in the middle of the park for Rovers.
“They’ve been playing very well, and they deserve it too. Lee is a brilliant player and the club have done wonderfully well to sign him on a permanent deal. Lewis is a breath of fresh air, I love how he plays. It takes a lot of bravery to go out and play at 19 and he’s relishing it. I think he has proved why he is so highly regarded at Everton and he’s done really well for us.”