Sylvester Jasper says he hasn’t come to Bristol Rovers to sit around and is confident that his ability and determination will be enouh to earn him a start soon.
The 21-year-old has so far played four games for Rovers, coming on as a substitute in all of them, which has given him 61 minutes of pitch time, but he has been unable to affect games that have falen away from them.
He has been with Rovers for just under a month now and has settled in quickly, but wants to start getting starts for the club he has committed to for the season.
“One of the first things I was saying to my family and my boys back home since I’ve come is that everyone has welcomed me really well,” Jasper said.
“It’s the thing that when you usually go to some places it might take a few days but here, I felt close to everyone.
“I can say anything to the boys. We’ve got a really tight squad and it’s going to help us out of the situation we are in right now.
“I’m really enjoying my time here training. When I get on the pitch, I feel like I am doing good things for the team.
“I want to keep on playing and playing more often. Hopefully the fans and everyone can see what I am really about.”
Rovers are Jasper’s third loan club after spells with Colchester United of League Two and Scottish Premiership side Hibernian last season.
Jasper had more joy with Colchester in the first part of the season, playing 24 times with three goals and two assists, and played when Rovers drew at the Colchester Community Stadium in October 2021.
From a show reel of him of which he is aware of, it is obvious that he has skills and tricks in his locker, but he is keen to improve more aspects of his game to make him an all-round player.
“Coming off of the back of last season, I looked at adding more goals to my game,” he admitted.
“I was like cool that I am playing well and doing all these nice things but now I need to start scoring more. That’s the thing I have been learning for myself, it’s definitely a thing I have been working on.
“All I wanna do is play football and just help the team as much as I can. I know I am capable and will play more, the team will be better, so I am confident.
“I have come here to play games and not just sit around. Hopefully with the performances when I come on and in training, the gaffer can see that I deserve a start.”
The Fulham loanee’s versatility has been used well so far this season, being brought onto either wing as well as switching throughout.
He was brought onto the pitch as a right midfielder in last week’s defeat to Accrington Stanley.
At the moment, Joey Barton is trying to find a system that can accommodate Rovers’ talented attack, as well as adding solidity to the defence.
For the time being, two formations have been tried that have deployed wingers but the likes of Aaron Collins and Harry Anderson, as well as Luke McCormick are keeping Jasper out of the starting XI.
Jasper is a player however which is his obvious flair, which comes from the confidence he has in himself.
“I’m a different player but if I can be used positively, I can have a really good effect on the team,” he said.
“I’m gonna keep working, get my head down and hopefully an opportunity comes for me to start, which I am sure it will. I’m gonna take it and stay in the team.”
“I don’t really have a preferred position. I’ve played on the left, right and in the middle as well. I feel like I am really versatile.
“Even though the team isn’t doing amazingly, everyone is still in high spirits. We believe we can get here and get up the table in no time, so it’s all positive.
“The gaffer focused us on knuckling down on the basics. There were things that we were doing that we weren’t even getting the basics right.
“We need to wipe everything out. Start doing the basics correctly and progress from there. The club wouldn’t have brought me here if they didn’t see an opportunity for me playing.”
Rovers face fellow-promoted side Exeter City in their next fixture as the team look to put behind them a bad run of form.
Their last league visit to St James Park saw them concede four goals in the first 24 minutes with a response not sent until the 71st minute when Sam Finley scored a consolation goal.
Six of the players including all the substitutes that came on are no longer at the club, but a good chunk of the squad remain from that fixture.
Jasper of course wasn’t around when the thrashing at the hands of the Grecians took place, but he had his own experience against Matt Taylor’s side last year.
He in fact scored in a 3-1 home win for Colchester, picking the ball up from Luke Hannant, before twisting and turning from Tim Dieng and then powerfully letting fly with a left-footed shot.
Rovers will hope to use Jasper’s experience to defeat a side they have struggled against in recent years, but believes it’s a clean slate for the visit to Devon.
“It’s a new game, what has happened then, has happened,” he said.
“It’s not like it’s an aggregate score or however many. There is going to be a new game plan on how to beat them. It’s totally new, they have new players and we have new players, it’s all wiped off and we go again.
“Pride is a big thing, ego is a big thing for any man that is playing football. You never wanna just get beat and beat, you always wanna win, I feel we’ll have a good chance this Saturday.”