Written by Nathan Gould
After picking up a point and a clean-sheet away to Wimbledon, Darrell said: “We’ve analysed it and we have taken the positives as well as what we need to be working on.
"Four points from a week puts us in a position where we’re two points off of 15th place, but still looking behind us, but we will go into it positive with a home game coming up.”
The strong form of one or two younger players on Saturday was important and Darrell was happy with a decent defensive performance. He said: “Steve Mildenhall made a couple of good saves, I thought Tom Parkes was very strong, Ollie Clarke played decent - we just lacked creativity in the top third really
“The players need to be less edgy, they need to look after things, get back to the basics and we need to be creating more at the top end.”
Darrell believes there is a degree of nervousness after the game on Saturday. He said: “One thing you can’t put on a training ground is match situations. You can do your patterns, your shapes, your formations and give them different scenarios, you can do all of that. But what you can not do is put mental strength into players.”
The first team manager believes it is important in football for the experienced players to see the younger pros over the line. He said: “They’ve got to stand up to the plate, I think the younger boys, Tom Lockyer and Ollie Clarke have been a revelation. Alefe Santos is a bit raw but you can see the potential in the boy. We are looking for the experienced players to step up to the plate.”
Every game has been crucial for Darrell and his team and he said; “It’s been a hectic week, going back to getting the job last Friday. Would I have taken four points? I’d prefer to have six to be honest with you, six points would have been great, but we’ve picked up four points and two clean sheets.”
Darrell must now prepare for the battle with League 2 strugglers Torquay. He said: “We can say Torquay are down and out but they’re not really, they need to win five games and that’s how they will be looking at it.
"They will be having a right good go. There are a lot of teams looking behind them, it is going to be an edgy end to the season and my players need to step up to the challenge.”
A packed Memorial Stadium on Saturday would be great for the team. “It works both ways, it is up to us as well to get the supporters out of their seats by putting in improved performances and picking up more points, they’ll be there in their numbers on Saturday.”
Injuries have been a problem for Bristol Rovers all season, Chris Beardsley was left on the bench on Saturday, Darrell’s reasoning was: “He’s got a problem down the side of his knee, and although he was on the bench he still wasn’t right, I’m hoping he will be available and 100% for the weekend.”
Since taking over from John Ward, Darrell has changed the formation and personnel. “I changed it at half time on Saturday as Wimbledon had us penned in. I changed it back to a 4-4-2 as our ball retention was poor in the first half and we couldn’t get out.
"I think it slightly helped us in the second half, when we got more crosses into the box and had more joy in the final third, albeit not enough, but the formation change certainly helped us.”
15 clean sheets is an impressive record for a team who are near the bottom. Darrell said: “Nothing has really changed; we’ve got to be better in the top half of the pitch. To get a clean sheet away and pick up a point stops the rot away from home, and it could be a vital point come the end of the season.”
For the full interview visit Gas Player.