Darrell on win at Whaddon Road
Rovers beat Gloucester City 4-3 at Whaddon Road yesterday, to record their first pre-season victory.
All of the goals were scored in an extraordinary second half.
After the game, manager Darrell Clarke had this to say.
“I felt that we totally dominated the first half, but we weren’t clinical enough in the final third.
“Even though we got a great number of crosses into the box, the quality wasn’t good enough and the finishing was wayward.
“In the second half we weren’t good, defensively, in fact our defending for the goals we conceded was shocking, but we were very good going forward.”
Nevertheless the manager was able to take a great many positives from a game in which he was missing four of his senior players through injury and illness.
He also fielded three triallists and 17 year old youth team goalkeeper Kieran Preston.
“Even with four of my senior players sat in the stand, we have just have just dominated a football match
“Each time we conceded a goal we fought back and showed that our fitness levels are good. In addition we played some good football and our movement was good.
“As I said we dominated the first half and I think Gloucester only had the ball in our half twice in the first half and Kieran never had a save to make, while we had enough chances to score but didn’t take them.”
On an extremely hot day, there could be no questioning the fitness of his players, testament to the tough pre-season regime and the hard work being put in on the training ground.
With two weeks before the start of the season and one more pre-season game to go the manager is confident his side will be ready for the big kick off.
Darrell explained why he has spread the workload amongst his squad in the pre-season games.
“I have a small squad so I can’t overload them with games and minutes on the pitch, but I don’t think we are lacking in match fitness.”
The senior players missing yesterday were goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall, defender Mark McChrystal and midfielders Lee Mansell and Ollie Clarke.
Mildenhall missed training on Thursday and Friday because of illness and wasn’t considered for the game, while McChrystal has a tight hamstring and was left out as a precaution.
Mansell, who injured his knee in last Tuesday’s game at Yeovil hopes to be undertaking some light jogging this week, while Clarke’s thigh injury, which has been troubling him for a while, will continue to be monitored.
The triallists the manager looked at yesterday were defenders Ryan Higgins and Pierce Mitchell, both of whom have featured in previous pre-season games, and midfielder Romuald Boco.
The Frenchman, who has 48 international caps for Benin to his name has, in the last two seasons, played for Accrington Stanley and Plymouth Argyle.
“He played in this game so that we could have a look at him we have decisions to make on him and the other triallists here. I’ll be speaking with them all over the course of the next few days.”
A Rovers XI take on Cribbs Football Club on Tuesday evening, at the Lawns, Cribbs Causeway (kick off 7.45pm) and face Coventry City at the Memorial Stadium next Friday (kick off 7.45pm)
“The team I put out on Tuesday will consist of first year pros and youngsters. The senior lads will be working hard on the training ground as we prepare for the game against Coventry.”