By Stuart HepburnDarrell Clarke hails the spirit of the Rovers’ squad going in to Saturday’s league match away at AFC Telford. Clarke did however suggest that we may not have seen the best of Rovers so far.
“There has been a spring in the step of the lads for a while now, and scoring 7 goals always helps that. We need to keep working hard on the training pitch, and obviously when we’re going well, like we are now, the spirit in the camp is there and that’s how it should be.”
Clarke also noted the difference in the Rovers’ team since the game against Telford earlier in the season, where Rovers came out 1-0 winners.
“We’ve improved a little bit since then and we need to keep improving. There could be a 10 to 15% improvement in the squad, and there are a few lads that haven’t had their chance yet but I’m sure they’ll take it when it comes.”
“It was a grinding win when we played them earlier in the season, but we know that we will have to grind games out in order to be successful. They’re tough games, and everyone raises their games when we’re in town and it’s up to us to raise our game too.”
The Rovers boss also highlighted that the squad are playing with spirit and belief.
“Football is a results game and this momentum we’re building gives the players plenty of confidence. The players don’t get too excited when we win and they don’t get too down when we lose, which I think is important. I think we’ve got a level-headed squad that want to work hard for the football club.”
Darrell also said how it is important not to underestimate bottom-of-the-table Telford.
“They had a good win to get into the next round of the FA Cup, so they’ll be on a high also. Anyone on the day can win the football match, there are always upsets and Telford will fancy their chances. It’s a tough league and the bottom teams can beat the top teams as we’ve seen throughout the season so far.”
Clarke once again suggests that Rovers can improve and be more ruthless in killing games off.
“We need to be more clinical throughout the team, and that’s not just my strikers. The defenders need to be scoring more goals from set-pieces when there’s a good delivery. We need goals from all over the pitch, which we’ve had to a certain extent, but we still need to be more clinical.”
The Boss noted that he is still keen to strengthen the squad, but it is proving difficult to do so.
“I do still want to strengthen but I won’t bring players in just for the sake of it. It’s very difficult in the middle of November, I’m getting loads of development players but there’s an element of not being sure of what you’re going to get. There is a huge difference between development games and the real thing, where you are expected to win every game in front of thousands of fans.”
“I’m looking to strengthen with the right player at the right time, and I’ve still got money left to try and attain such a player. I’m being patient with a couple of potentials, so we’ll see where it goes.”
Clarke also commented on Angelo Balanta, who is yet to play a first-team game for Rovers.
“He’s not back in full training yet. He’s stepped up his rehab work and might be back with us at the start of next week, but he definitely won’t be in contention for the game on Saturday.”