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Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Monday, 14 March 2011

Results forced hand of Bristol Rovers chief Nick Higgs

Nick Higgs
Higgs took responsibility for the failed appointment of manager Dave Penney

Chairman Nick Higgs has conceded Stuart Campbell's appointment as player-manager is a "calculated gamble" struggling Bristol Rovers had to take.

Having won just two games in 13 outings Higgs sacked Dave Penney and promoted midfielder Campbell to the top job.

Campbell won his first game at the helm, but Rovers remain three points from safety with 10 games remaining.

"We had to do something to try and resurrect what's left of the season," Higgs told BBC Radio Bristol.

"It's a calculated gamble, but when you weigh it all up Stuart was the ideal candidate to take us through.

"He has grabbed the mantle, been very positive, I commend him for that and we all need to get behind Stuart and give him the backing he deserves."

Rookie boss Campbell beat Tranmere in his first game in charge before a 1-0 loss and another improved performance at home to promotion-chasing Huddersfield second time out.

However, the Pirates face a tough fight for survival with seven of their remaining games against top-half teams, including matches against Peterborough, Southampton and home and away versus Bournemouth.

Higgs is keeping his options open over appointing the 33-year-old to the role beyond the end of what he described as a "strange season" in which first Paul Trollope and then Penney lost their jobs as the slide towards the relegation zone continued.

Both sacked managers remain on the payroll but Higgs has no regrets about either decision and defended the timeframe it took to replace Trollope over the Christmas and New Year period.

It took 56 days before Penney came in, but within less than two months the former Darlington, Doncaster and Oldham boss was shown the door with the tipping point the 2-0 home defeat to Dagenham and Redbridge.

"It was actually only two weeks of negotiations and we did interview 10 people," said Higgs.

"I thought at the time we'd made the right appointment. Unfortunately things haven't transpired and results didn't get any better. In fact they got worse.

"For whatever reason it didn't work. I can't fault Dave's work ethic, but the results haven't come through and it certainly wasn't a panic measure but we took the decision Stuart was the right person to raise expectation of the fans and try and stave off relegation.

"Some people say it's the style of play, but that was Dave's choice and a lot of the players didn't perform to that style of play.

"It was quite clear it wasn't working and we had to make a calculated decision to change things to try and resurrect what was left of the season.

"Ultimately I take responsibility for the appointment of Dave Penney."

Despite the campaign and the comings and goings in the dug out, Higgs described relations with fans as "generally good" and insisted he will not walk away from the club if they do drop down a division after a four-season stay in League One.

"I don't see there's any calls for that. If I'm called to resign I would resign, anything for the betterment of the club, but at this point in time we're doing the best we can," he said.

"I see nobody willing to come and take my job over. I'm always willing to talk to somebody who thinks they can do better or inject even more cash into this club."

Bristol Rovers vs. Huddersfield

Bristol Rovers 0-1 Huddersfield

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see also
Bristol Rovers 0-1 Huddersfield
12 Mar 11 |  League One
Tranmere 0-1 Bristol Rovers
10 Mar 11 |  League One
Rovers are good enough - Campbell
08 Mar 11 |  Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers sack boss Penney
07 Mar 11 |  Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers 0-2 Dag & Red
05 Mar 11 |  League One
Penney lands Bristol Rovers role
10 Jan 11 |  Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers chief blames squad
16 Dec 10 |  Bristol Rovers
Trollope sacked by Bristol Rovers
15 Dec 10 |  Bristol Rovers

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