Manager Darrell Clarke declared himself satisfied with this afternoon’s 2-1 win against Sutton United, saying; “It was a good workout for us and apart from a little ten minute spell in the first half, when we were a little bit disappointing, we caused Sutton quite a few problems.”
As for the new 4G surface the manager said he felt his players faced more disruption from the enforced changes he had to make than the pitch.
“Those changes affected the flow of the game a little bit, but all of them were precautionary. Matty Taylor had a slight hip problem, Ellis Harrison a jarred back and I wanted to make sure that the cramp that Chris Lines was experiencing didn’t turn into a pull.”
The manager said he was pleased with the fitness levels his squad have shown, both in training and the two games to date; “The lads are looking fit and sharp, though there are other areas of our game we need to tighten up on. For instance, the high energy our game demands needs working on and we need to ensure that we don’t give our opponents time on the ball.
“However we did work well today against an experienced Conference South side who have signed three of the Eastleigh players we came up against last season.”
Kieran Preston was in goal today as both triallist Ian McLoughlin and Will Puddy are suffering from slight groin strains; “We will need to see how it goes with Ian in the next few days and see whether or not he will be fit to play in either of our midweek games.
“As far as Will is concerned, we didn’t risk him today as it’s all about getting everyone fit for 8th August so that I have a fully fit squad to choose from.”
There were, of course, two other players looking to impress the manager, Jennison Williams and Toby Ajala.
“I can’t really say that Jennison is a triallist, as he has offers from other clubs on the table, so it was pleasing that he wanted to play this afternoon.
“As for Toby, I thought he did well today and put himself about, though it’s early days and it’s difficult to judge anyone who is in on trial at this stage of the season. I don’t over analyse the early parts of pre-season, as we are just working towards getting the boys match sharp and match fit and making sure we don’t pick up any injuries.”
Darrell has also been pleased with the form shown by the younger members of the squad in the two games played this weekend; “It’s a good time for the young players who are learning the game and an opportunity for me to see them in games to see if they are ready for a serious step up to the next level, and it’s nice that they are giving me food for thought.”
Rovers face two more games on consecutive days this week, with matches at Cirencester on Tuesday and Mangotsfield on Wednesday and the manager is likely to field similar teams to those he out this weekend, assuming the injuries sustained today aren’t serious.
“Ideally I would like the team that played at Salisbury yesterday to face Cirencester and the side that played today to turn out on Wednesday.”
Like everyone else, he is hoping for positive news on the new stadium tomorrow when we finally learn whether or not the purchase of the Memorial Stadium by Sainsbury’s goes ahead.
“The situation affects me, of course it does, and a positive outcome tomorrow would be a bit of a game changer.
“I think it’s well documented that money is tight at the moment and it’s not rocket science that the more money that’s spent on a court case the less I have to bring in new players.
“Consequently. Monday is a huge day for the club and especially for our supporters, who deserve a fantastic new stadium.”