Darrell Clarke spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s local derby with Bath City. The fixture marks the first match for Bristol Rovers in the FA Trophy throughout the club’s 131 year history. However, Clarke has experience in the trophy, he said:
“As a player I managed to get to the semis, we got beaten by Barrow over two legs, when I was at Salisbury – the captain of Salisbury. Also, when I was managing Salisbury we got to the quarter-finals but got beaten by Darlington.
“So I enjoy it, it’s an opportunity for clubs to get a place at Wembley.”
The ultimate prize for any club going far in the FA Trophy is the chance for teams to play at Wembley, and Clarke spoke on the attraction it brings:
“There’s a big carrot at the end of it and I want to win every football match – it’s the same mentality I put into my players as well, I want them to win every training session.”
After playing Bath City in pre-season and unfortunately losing 1-0, Clarke mentioned he was familiar with quite a few people at the club, he said:
“They’ve got good players, and I know a fair bit about them; [Ben] Adelsbury was a lad I had a Salisbury, [Andy] Watkins up top is very bright, [David] Pratt is a very experienced player at the level and they can hurt you on the day. They’ve got some good footballers.
“Yeah, I know a fair bit about them, but we’ll treat it like any other game. We’ll respect the opposition, look at their strengths and their weaknesses and we’ll go on from there.”
Darrell also reinforced his desire to take the FA Trophy seriously, he said:
“I’ll be picking a team to go out and win the game, I won’t be chucking in young blood, that’s for sure.”
There’s also been recent media speculation linking Clarke with the vacant manager’s position at Hartlepool United, but he was quick to play down the rumours.
“It’s nice to be linked with any job, I spent a good 6 years at Hartlepool as a player and I still know a lot of people at the football club. But I’m very, very happy at my job – I’ve got unfinished business here.”