THE realist in me says there is no chance Rovers will be in the ‘top-six shake-up’ come the end of the season.

But the eternal optimist in me still believes there is a chance for us, but only if we win all of our home league games in the remainder of this month, and pick up points from our travels to Cardiff and Bournemouth.


What is certain is the manager cannot take any of the blame for us coming back from Vicarage Road empty-handed.

He has come in for much criticism this season for his line-ups, substitutions and tactics, but he got it spot-on in a game that saw Rovers dominate, but fail to capitalise on a string of clear-cut chances in the second half.

Often we have moaned and groaned that he does not ‘go for it’ when nothing short of a win will suffice, but there can be no doubt that is exactly what we did here. And when their goalkeeper gets the man of the match – now we know how Boro must feel about Simon Eastwood – you just know it has not been your day.

It was not the result we wanted, but we have seen a marked improvement since the defeat at Derby, after which there was an honest and frank discussion in the dressing room.

What was said does seem to have made a difference as the performance against Fulham was much improved and the loss at Watford was possibly our best display of the season.

We can only hope it is the performance that lingers in the players’ minds and not the result as we go into tonight’s must-win game against a Rotherham side that has only won four since they turned us over in late September.

We should stick with the XI that started at Watford, continuing with Chris Brown up front, who must be nearing his first goal for us, while the central midfield pairing of Spearing and Evans seems to have made us more solid in the middle. Those line-ups also leave us with good options from the bench, with one of either Rhodes or Gestede available to bring on, as well as Tom Cairney and Josh King who can make an impact.