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Club News


17 July 2015

With four pre-season games already played, manager Darrell Clarke has seen many of his players gain valuable playing time as they continue their preparations for the new season, and he has been pleased with their levels of fitness.

"Many of them have been able to get a lot of minutes under their belts and one of the reasons I only used two substitutes at Mangotsfield on Wednesday was that I wanted as many players as possible to play the ninety minutes as we build up to the game against an Arsenal XI on Saturday.

"I will be naming a squad of 18 players for that game and won't be making wholesale changes during the match.

"Whatever the makeup of the Arsenal side, they will be very well drilled and technically very good. We are all looking forward to the first home game of our pre-season calendar and our first appearance at the Memorial Stadium since winning promotion."

One or two players have suffered minor injuries in the games played to date while some, goalkeeper Will Puddy included, haven't played at all.

"Mark McChrystal picked up a knock in training yesterday so we will have to assess whether or not he is fit to play on Saturday, while Puddy has a slight groin strain and may be out for another two weeks. Matty
Taylor picked up a slight injury at Sutton last Sunday, but I'm hoping he will be fit to play some part in the game.

"However it has been a bonus for us getting Stuart Sinclair back in action and he featured in the games at Salisbury and Cirencester, while Lee Mansell also returned against Cirencester after he picked up a calf injury that caused him to miss out last Saturday."

Saturday might also see the return to action of Lee Jermaine Easter; "he has now been back in full training for a couple of days and if he doesn't suffer any reaction today then he is likely to be in the squad to face Arsenal and perhaps play for 20 minutes or so.

"It's good to see him back in action and he is looking bright and fit and he's very confident that his knee has fully recovered following surgery, and that's always a good sign and it's fantastic news for us."

It's also an important day for triallist Billy Bodin as the manager revealed at last night's forum with supporters that he would play some part in proceedings tomorrow. The former Swindon and Torquay player impressed in the game against Cirencester when he scored a well taken hat trick.

At the same meeting the manager also revealed that goalkeeper Kieran Preston will spend time on a youth loan with Evostik Southern league club Redditch United in the coming season, with Rovers having a recall clause written into his contract.

The manager's meeting with supporters at the Memorial Stadium last night was well attended and his comments were well received by all those present.

Supporters Club Vice Chairman Chris Walker has posted the points discussed during the evening on the supporters club website

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