The manager takes a look at tomorrow's opponentsBy Jimi Brock
Ahead of the game against Chester on Friday the 3rd of April, Darrell Clarke can add another three players into contention with Lee Mansell coming back from suspension, with Ellis Harrison and Jake Gosling returning from their respective international call-ups.
The Rovers boss said: “It’s great that the players are back from international duty and Lee [Mansell] is back from suspension. [Stuart] Sinclair and [Neal] Trotman are a little bit more long term”.
Ellis Harrison gave a good account of himself when playing for the Welsh U-21 team and Darrell would have been keen to see how he performed.
“From what I’ve head he [Ellis Harrison] did well and played 82 minutes and then got cramp, but by all accounts did very well”.
In the previous time Rovers played against Chester the Gas were leading 2-0 before Chester mounted a comeback to gain a point at the Swansway Chester Stadium.
“I know Steve Burr and I know how his teams like to play football, they’re a very good footballing team, they like to move the ball and pass the ball quickly”.
Darrell told us “They’ve had a pretty solid season, he’s [Steve Burr] got them into mid table which I’m sure he’s delighted about, but I’m sure they’ll be looking to finish the season strongly”.
Rovers find themselves in what seems like a three horse race at the top of the Vanarama Conference, the Gas are 1 point behind top spot but are kept third by Grimsby through goal difference.
“With 5 games to go we’re a point behind and pretty confident.” Clarke added “ It’s all about points and trying to win football matches but it’s a tough league to get out of and like I’ve said we’re Bristol Rovers and they are no easy games.”
With Bristol Rovers being relegated from the football league last season, it was important to change the mentality of the club and the players from previous years. To do that Clarke has said that:
“It’s been drilled into the players early on that if we lose a game it’s a catastrophe, if we draw a game it’s an absolute disaster and if we win a game why didn’t we win by more, so the players have it drilled into their heads.”
It’s been a long and rigorous season for Rovers so far this season, so it was important that the manager was able to keep the focus of the group and make sure that they’re on course and where they need to be mentally for the challenge.
“We’ve worked a lot on that to be honest because the expectation levels with this club in league 2 were very high, so you can imagine what it’s been like in non-league all season”.
There’s a lot of positivity around the ground and none seem to be emitting that positivity more than the supporters. The average attendance for the home game is above 6,000. This is amongst the highest in the division.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the supporters because the majority of them remain very positive, you’re always going to get people who look at 5, 6 years ago but we’re not in that place anymore.
“We’re working very hard as a club to try and get us back into league 2 and then kick on again”.