Rovers hope new faces can turn season around

League two
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The Independent Football

Bristol Rovers yesterday reacted to the disappointment of losing three consecutive league games by making a double signing, bringing Brighton goalkeeper Michael Poke and Chesterfield defender Aaron Downes to the Memorial Stadium on one-month loan deals.

Poke, 26, has made just one appearance for Brighton in 18 months, while 26-year-old Downes has made 194 appearances for Chesterfield.

The news came after Rovers were pulverised 5-2 at home to Crewe on Saturday, heaping further pressure on manager Paul Buckle, whose side have endured a dire three weeks. Prior to their 3-2 home defeat to Plymouth Argyle on Boxing Day, a game in which they threw away a two-goal lead, Rovers were thrashed 4-1 at Gillingham. Currently five points clear of the relegation zone, Rovers face fellow strugglers Barnet today.

Elsewhere, Northampton manager Aidy Boothroyd remained positive despite his side finishing the year at the foot of the table after a 2-1 defeat to Swindon. Michael Jacobs' first-half penalty gave Northampton the lead but Alan Connell equalised before team-mate Alan McCormack struck in the final minute.

"There were a couple of mistakes, a bit of naivety in trying to win the game. We looked like a desperate team," Boothroyd said. "The players were distraught at the end but we've got a new year and a new season, the second half of this season, to put things right."