Bristol Rovers boss Ben Garner calls for 'strong' referee performance as he looks to 'expose' Sunderland's weaknesses

Bristol Rovers boss Ben Garner has called for a ‘strong’ referee performance ahead of the clash at the Stadium of Light - as he looks to ‘expose’ Sunderland’s weaknesses.

Friday, 21st February 2020, 2:37 pm

The Black Cats are just three points off the top of League One ahead of the visit of Rovers to Wearside on Saturday afternoon.

Garner’s mid-table side, meanwhile, find themselves down in 13th after a mixed run of form.

Ben Toner will be the man overseeing proceedings and ahead of the game, Garner has called for a strong performance from the match official.

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Ben Garner, manager of Bristol Rovers.

On the referee, Garner added: “We need a good referee tomorrow.

“We need someone who’s not going to be influenced, that’s not going to be swayed by that crowd, and is going to make good strong decisions in the game.

“I don’t tend to speak to them during the game or after. They’re making decisions and we do give feedback in terms of performances and we were disappointed with some of the recent games with the standard of refereeing.

“We fed that back and they’ve been good enough to feed back to us, so that’s all you can do - give our honest feedback in terms of how we see it and then listen to what they say and the processes they’re going through.”

The Rovers boss has praised Sunderland’s recent revival but believes there are areas that his side can target as they look to spoil the party.

Speaking ahead of the 3pm KO, Garner said: “The change of shape has helped them, since they changed shape their form has been a lot better and they’ve been a lot more resilient.

“They’re not letting in as many goals, but we’ve worked on it this week in terms of what they do, but also there’s key areas I think we can expose and we’ve worked on that in detail this week.

“Training has been good, the players have all been excellent this week.

“The competition for places is getting fiercer and fiercer, the environment we’re creating is improving week on week, so in that respect very, very pleased.”