Three times in 18 months I've been to the Britannia Stadium to see Rovers play Stoke. Three times I've seen us fail to score. Three trips, three defeats. If it wasn't for the fact that the hospitality is so good and the trip is a relatively short one, I'd not bother next time.
It was frustrating, again, because I just don't think Stoke are much cop. The margin between victory and defeat can be narrow, yesterday it was too. They were there for the taking and at times Rovers were well on top in the first half. But Sam seems to think we have to compete with teams like this on their terms. So he drops the skillful Kalinic and goes for more hoofball.
Andy Cryer in the Lancashire Telegraph blog talks about the need for investment being crucial. He says the signing of Kenwyne Jones is proof that Stoke have a narrow edge over Rovers. I disagree. It's not about money, it's about tactics and attitude. You could pass around Stoke for fun, a few balls to feet and the likes of Huth and Shawcross would be in knots. Kalinic doesn't play, new Diouf is invisible. Old Diouf is our best threat. He gets taken off. We try more hoofball.
There's also this second half thing going on. Kevin Gallacher was in our lounge before the game and said pretty much the same thing. I don't know if it has anything to do with Sam being in technical area in the second half, but the difference in performance and tactics was noticeable.
Amazingly, it wasn't last on Match of the Day.