CONSECUTIVE wins, consecutive clean sheets, a no-nonsense approach and clearing out the dead wood.

I know it is early days and we shouldn’t get carried away, but I am warming to the new gaffer.

Questions were raised when Ruben Rochina – over-rated by many Rovers fans in my opinion – left the club on deadline day.

He had a lot of nice tricks and a decent finish at times, but his lack of a brain, at least a football brain, made him a liability at times.

So often you would see him take on two midfielders, get through, have a run towards goal and then, instead of passing, attempt about 19 step-overs and lose possession.

But players like him do ignite a sense of excitement among supporters, so it was unsurprising many were disappointed at his departure.

The explanation soon followed – quite pleasing in itself that behind-closed-doors decisions were explained to the paying fans – that Rochina had asked to leave and Appleton had allowed him to.

What is the point of having players at the club who don’t want to be there, especially when they probably get paid a fortune?

He also isn’t the type of player that is likely to prosper in the Appleton regime – as weren’t Rosado, Vukcevic or Linganzi – as he appears to favour the ‘Big Sam’ approach.

In my view, things are looking up. He is trying to tighten us up, play more solidly.

And, as the man said himself after the win over Bristol, if you can stay solid and keep a clean sheet, with a man like Jordan Rhodes in your side, the chances are you will score and win.

The big disappointment on deadline day was our failure to sign Jerome Thomas and DJ Campbell.

But, despite earlier confidence, they were unable to complete those two deals as they fell through at the last minute.

But at least it appears likely they will be brought in on loan on Friday so we may not have missed out entirely.

The news Leon Best is back in training is also a huge boost. Having him back will be like having a new signing as it is.

We are just seven points from the play-offs and, to stand any chance of promotion, our run has to come now.

Our heads are up, Rhodes is banging them in for fun, and we aren’t conceding.

If we can keep that up we should certainly be able to beat Ipswich on Saturday.

There are some tough games coming up, including both Brighton and Leicester City away, but you have to go up against the best and succeed if you are to get anywhere in football.

February will be a huge test for Rovers and Michael Appleton.

By the end of the month, we may well have a better idea of where we could be next season.