Date: 8th February 2010 at 8:15pm
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Sas is of to the Bailwick of Jersey for his next mission!!

Whilst continuing his global adventures, this time, swimming the Channel, Sas bumped into a fellow Rover, and here is his story….

1) Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you, what do you do, why Rovers?

Hi! My name is Francesco I’m from the small island of Jersey in the Channel Islands and I have been following Rovers since I can remember. My uncle who is a season ticket holder took me to my first game, memory is hazy but I think my first was a 5-0 thrashing of Sheff Utd. Ever since then i try to get accross once a season. I would like to go more often but unlike my uncle I can’t afford to keep flying back and forth !

2) Dissapointing performance v Stoke. What did you think of the result. 2 Red cards in 3 games for Samba, unlucky or a liability?

I’ll be honest – I usually don’t switch off the radio or TV until the end when Rovers are on but after it hit 2-0 I couldn’t bare listneing any more! I wish I could say we deserved better from what I had heard but we really did little during the game. We are capable of much better performances and hopefully Hull at home will put us back on track.

I can’t say I think Samba is a dirty player. I think the red cards in quick sucession were just unfortunate. Whilst a little soft you have to give the referee a reason to send you off (generally) and Samba was just a little clumsy. I don’t think it is a trend he will follow as I really think we have cleaned up our act this season. I think that Givet will do a job at CB standing in for him.

3) Can Nikola Kalinic single handedly carry the burden of being a primary strike weapon?

Undecided! Whilst Niko has started showing us what he is capable of I really think he needs someone around him who can put a few away as the pressure for the lad is growing, especially now with Benni gone. Don’t know how many people will agree with me but i think our best chance of a partner for Niko is J-Rob. Yes he isn’t prolific but he does make chances for other people. He also does well to draw attention away from his strike partner at times because he can be such a handful – part of the reason J-Rob and Benni used to work. If Niko gets some good service I’m sure he can put some goals away. Di Santo and Niko together looks like it could have great potential, but we need someone with experience next to Niko. I do like the lad and hope he bags a load for Rovers but it may be a bit early to start relying on him as our main supplier. We know we don’t have a 20 goals striker but I also think our lack of goals is partly to blame on the midfield’s contribution – both with assists and goals of there own. MGP, Diouf, Emo (sorry SAS!) need to be scoring more with the ability they possess.

4) 31 days to sign a striker to take over from Benni McCarthy. Why did we leave it to the last 1 hr 45 minutes? Who would you have signed?

I believe until we had secured the funds for a new striker we couldn’t make the move. I’m sure (hope!) a list of candidates was drawn up long before we actually sold Benni but the process of negotiation is what held us up. The main factor we didn’t sign Dindane being that stupid clause the 2 parties couldn’t agree on where we had to buy Dindane if he played a certain amount of games – something we can’t afford to do. I have to say I’m not too bothered that we didn’t sign him though. Benjani had the option and I guess he wen’t to Sunderland because he would get paid twice the amount. I really thought we would sign Beattie. OK he’s not my ideal signing but last season he showed he has what it takes to score crucial goals in the Premier League. Hopefully Basturk’s still got the ambition to get back to his best as I think he could be a real impact signing for Rovers – if he can show enough desire.

5) Martin Olsson. A revelation or just in a good patch of form which will die out?

Time to be more positive! At first I was a little disappointed with Martin, as I think many Rovers fans were. Lately he has really been impressing me and certainly has changed my opinions of him. The ability to score a goal like he did against Villa doesn’t come and go and that goal wasn’t a fluke. You are born with that so you can at least see he has the ability. If he can match the ability with ambition and hard work then I think come next season we could have a star on our hands. At left back or left midfield.

6) Who will win the EPL, who will get relegated, and where will we Finish!

Hmmm really tough to say who will win the league but in a toss up between Chelsea and Man Utd I think Chelsea will come out on top overall. There is little between the two and despite Rooney’s amazing form and Nani stepping his game up I think Chelsea will nick it but not by much. IMO they have that bit more to call from their squad players than Utd do which may prove critical as the season heads toward the finish line.

As for relegation I think Pompey will go down, which I won’t enjoy as I did live in Pompey for 2 years and like the place. Burnley – As much as I would love to see the derby in the PL next year I don’t see enough class in the dingle’s squad to keep them up. I think West Ham will climb out of trouble and another of our neighbours may go down instead. Whether it is Wigan or Bolton though I can’t decide!

Finally for Rovers. Optimistically, (very) 8th – We do have the ability in the squad to climb into the top half and it’s down to the right tactics and performances if we stay there. Realistically I think just out of the bottom half, maybe 11th. This wouuld be a good foundation for next season and then we will really see if Allardyce can win the sceptical fans over. Either he will push us on and we will see a better, more attractive style of football or we won’t progress like we want to and people will lose patience. Worst case scenario I’d like to think is around 14th. Obviously I’m biased but I just can’t see us being right at the bottom come the end of the season.

I think I’ve bored everyone enough by now so I’ll end it there! BIG SAM’S BLUE N WHITE ARMY!

Fantastic mate! Wow, 8th! Id take that in a heartbeat after this weekends showing!


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