Phil Bater
PHIL
BATER

Phil Bater was placed in temporary charge of team affairs at Bristol Rovers for the second time on January 16th, 2004, following the absence and subsequent departure of Ray Graydon.

Phil had already acted as caretaker boss prior to Graydon's arrival in April 2002, when he took charge for three games – drawing one and losing two.

The Cardiff-born full-back began his career with The Pirates, signing from apprentice in 1973 and staying with the club until 1981 when he moved to Wrexham, having made over 200 appearances.

Phil returned to Rovers two years later and played another 98 games for the club before joining Brentford in 1986 and finishing his playing career with Cardiff the following year.

Having returned to the Memorial Ground once again, in a coaching capacity, Phil now has the responsibility of running the first team as the board consider their next managerial appointment.

After seeing the side earn a point from their 2-2 with Rochdale in his first match at the helm, he was looking forward to leading them out against Carlisle in the following game.

Phil told Rovers' official website on January 20th, the day Graydon's departure was announced: "I spoke to Geoff Dunford (the chairman) this morning for the first time since Saturday. He said to me that I would be in charge until Saturday and I know no more than that at the moment. A few directors are away at this time, so basically, I'll prepare the team for Saturday and get on with it. Things like this happen in football, you've just got to get on with it."

Assisting Phil in the interim period is Tony Ricketts, former manager of Bath City and Rovers Women, now heavily involved in the club's youth link-up with Filton College.

"I've brought Tony in, he was my choice," Phil explained. "We have a good rapport and get on very well. We'll just get on with it this week – we don't know about the future yet, we'll just make sure we're properly prepared for the game this weekend."

Regardless of the length of his tenure, the caretaker boss revealed that he would be making some changes, for both the short-term and long-term future of the club.

"It's very difficult to say what will change," he said on the club's website. "People are different, and that is no disrespect to anybody, but I think we need to be better organised and we need to play to our strengths more. We are a better side when we get at teams rather than sit back, especially at home, so I want us to play more in people's faces.

"We also need to be fitter, because I'm not sure if we're fit enough at this moment in time, and we need to give our fans something to be happy about. We need to be winning our home games – in the last two or three years we've given the fans nothing, and they need something and they deserve something."

He added: "Morale is great today. On Saturday (against Rochdale) the lads adapted well, and although players can be selfish at times wondering if changes will affect them, life does go on, and they have to respond. They don't know what is going to happen, but they have stuck together and got on with it and they showed on Saturday that they didn't give in.

"We have underachieved massively this season – the league table doesn't lie, we are where we are because we haven't got results, but we should be doing better than we are. We need to string a few results together, and win our home games. Away games will take care of themselves, but we definitely need to win our home games.

"Whatever happens now, and whoever takes over be it next week or next month, they will inherit a good squad, but a squad that should be doing better than it is. The response so far has been very positive from all the players, I've had a word with some of the older boys, we had a long chat, and we're all on the front foot now, and ready to go."

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