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Darrell on Cheltenham

16 July 2014

Manager reflects on first pre-season game

Manager Darrell Clarke was pleased with a number of things he saw in last night’s pre-season game against Cheltenham, won by the hosts thanks to a 75th minute Byron Harrison goal.

“It was a good workout in our first pre-season game and I thought that the work ethic from the lads was excellent.

“We worked really hard at closing down our opponents and there were some good, and not so good, things to take from the game which is what you expect in pre-season.

“The lads were a little bit careless in possession at times and could have been a little bit more creative and better on the ball at certain times, but they are things you get right the more matches you play.

“Nevertheless I couldn’t fault the effort of the players at all especially after the way they have trained in the last couple of weeks.”

The manager again spoke of the need to bring in another four players.

“My squad is still small and I know I still need to bring in four players to help those players I already have here. Those four players will strengthen us even more.

“I have made firm offers for players already but there are times when those offers don’t materialise and players choose a different option, so we move on and look at other targets

“I would hope to bring one or two in by the end of the week but they have to be the right players. We will just see how it goes; I’m not panicking

“As for the new lads we have signed, it was good for them to get a taste of the action tonight and feel what it’s like to wear the Bristol Rovers shirt.”

Striker Ryan Brunt sat out last night’s game, but is very close to a return to action following the injury that kept him out for most of last season.

“Ryan Brunt is in full training. He won’t be involved against Bath City on Saturday but will continue to train with a view to being available for the game at Yeovil on Tuesday.

“He has worked very hard; we just don’t want to bring him back too early to avoid any setbacks.”

With regard to defender Michael Smith, for whom the club have turned down a bid from an unnamed club, the manager said; “If Michael Smith were to go I have a contingency plan in place.

“However the bid we have had for him doesn’t meet our valuation and he remains our player.

“Until a club meets our valuation he won’t be going anywhere. He was here watching the game tonight and is a fantastic player and a fantastic lad.

“He knows the situation and if he is with us at the start of the season and is fit then he will be selected.”

Darrell also said that he will give other players an opportunity against Bath City on Saturday.

“I’ll be mixing things up a little bit and some of the first year pros will be getting a game and I might take the opportunity to look at some other players as well.”

Two triallists, Ryan Higgins and Pierce Mitchell, were involved in last night’s game.

“They will remain at the club and will continue to try and impress.

“I thought Ryan did well for 40 minutes and Pierce did well when he came on but I would like to see a bit more of them before I make any decision.”

The full audio interview with Darrell is available on Gas Player.

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