John Ward: Bristol Rovers have have earned opponents' respect

John Ward

Bristol Rovers boss John Ward says opposition managers have complimented his team during their recent good run.

The Pirates have taken 16 points from eight games this year, lifting them from bottom of League Two to 18th.

"We've handled ourselves very well against some good teams and got good results," Ward told BBC Radio Bristol.

"We've gained a lot of respect from our opponents. [Rotherham manager] Steve Evans in particular was very complimentary about how we played."

Ward replaced out-going boss Mark McGhee in December and Rovers have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes since.

They lost 2-1 to Rotherham United on Tuesday, but that was only their second defeat since New Year's Day and they still remain six points clear of the relegation zone.

"When we lost to Gillingham [in January] we hit back straight away at Fleetwood Town," Ward continued.

"We're in a much, much better situation than a few weeks ago but there's a lot of work to do to make sure we don't get pulled back in.

"It's one defeat, so what? Even Barcelona got beat the other night. Lets just get on with the next game."

Rovers travel to in-form Morecambe on Saturday on the back of a league attendance of 8,836 in the mid-week defeat to Rotherham - their biggest since hosting Norwich City in May 2010.

"8,600 people in the ground recognised the efforts of the team [on Tuesday] - they applauded them off, even in defeat," Ward said.

"The fans want to see a the team that represents them. Earning respect from your own supporters is vital.

"The players have earned my respect, earned the supporters' respect, and now they're getting it from their opponents too."