Boss Ian Evatt wants a positive and raucous response from fans and players as Wanderers look to bounce back on Saturday, writes Pete Oliver.
The Whites suffered a first defeat in 12 games at Portsmouth on Monday night in front a fervent full house at Fratton Park.
Evatt felt the Pompey supporters played their part in helping their side end Wanderers’ unbeaten run and extend their advantage at the top of the League One table with a 2-0 victory.
And Evatt is hoping for a similar atmosphere at the Toughsheet Community Stadium when his side will be aiming for a seventh successive home win against Bristol Rovers to potentially get back within three points of Portsmouth with a game in hand.
“The one thing that I found on Monday night, from the people that I know down there and from what they have said to me, is that the local media and everyone else was drumming up the support,” said the Wanderers’ boss, whose side has been superbly backed home and away this season.
“It was a really intimidating, intense atmosphere and we want to try and recreate that here because it's difficult to play in and play against.
“If we can do that on Saturday, get a response from the players and hopefully go on the front foot from the start and really attack the game with the quality I we know we've got, then hopefully we can get back to winning ways.
“But it won't be easy because they've got a lot of good players and a new manager who knows what he's doing.”
Rovers sit in mid-table and head north under recently appointed boss Matt Taylor on the back of a mid-week FA Cup replay win at Crewe Alexandra.
But Wanderers have made a habit of quickly recovering from defeats – with no back-to-back losses for over a year – and Evatt expects his players to be determined to maintain that record and show their true colours to remain well placed in the promotion race.
“As much as I've seen, the players have reacted in the right way,” he added. “They're obviously disappointed because they wanted to show everybody the team that they are becoming and evolving into.
“It didn't happen for us on Monday but there's still lots to like about it and sometimes losing can be a positive thing. You really learn the value of winning when you lose a football match because that feeling you get is awful and we want to make sure we don't have that too often.
“I've said this before this team, when asked questions, have always found an answer and a response and we want to respond to what we saw in the second-half in particular on Monday night.
“They know. They're an honest group. They understand that they underperformed and want to do better. So for us, that’s pulling our socks up and making sure we're ready for a big game on Saturday.”
Wanderers will be forced into one change for the first of two successive home games before Christmas with midfield play-maker Josh Sheehan banned for one game after picking up five bookings.
Striker Dan Nlundulu – who scored his first Wanderers’ goal against the Pirates on the final day of last season – remains sidelined but has successfully come through surgery on the hamstring damage he sustained last week.
“Everything went well and that's the main thing,” confirmed Evatt. “He's now on the road to recovery. It's a long road ahead with a few months to go but the players have rallied round him and the club has rallied round him and hopefully he'll come back bigger and better and stronger than ever and ready to go.”
Watch the manager’s pre-match interview on Wanderers TV HERE
And to be there to watch the Whites come back home to take on Rovers, click HERE to buy a ticket.