By Jimi BrockThree days on, Bristol Rovers boss Darrell Clarke had time to reflect on his sides 0-0 draw at Moss Road against Macclesfield on Saturday.
“Macclesfield gave us a very good game on the day, they were excellent, their recent performances had picked up and they gave us a good test”
The Silkmen are currently sat in fourth and are chasing the pack at the top of the table. A win for them in the fixture could have left them 3 points behind the Gas. Rovers find themselves 1 point off of leaders Barnet with only 5 games left to go.
“Alfreton getting an equaliser in injury time [against Barnet] was a boost when we’d already got our game out of the way, Grimsby on a hell of a run and doing really well so three horse race and we’re right in the mix with 5 to go.”
With a busy weekend coming up for Rovers, a game against Chester on Friday could propel the Gas into pole position before Barnet and Grimsby play their fixtures on Saturday.
Rovers manager Darrell Clarke praised Chester on their style of play. “Steve Burr has always got a good footballing side, a good footballing team and that’s how he likes to play the game. He’s a very cute manager at this level, he’s also assistant manager for the England C side, so he knows his non-league football”.
Ellis Harrison, Jake Gosling and Lee Mansell are all back and available for selection the bank holiday fixtures after Lee Mansell’s ban and Harrisons and Goslings international performances.
“We’ll pick up match preparation for the Chester game towards the end of the week, ready for the Kidderminster game whatever the result Friday”.
With it coming to the business end of the season, and the three teams separated at the top of the table by one point, you would forgive the players and manager to feel the pressure at this stage.
“I always try and protect them, the players are under immense pressure but it’s how they deal with that and handle it, they’ve dealt with it fantastically”.
Bristol Rovers are currently in a rich vein of form and with the last 13 games have so far picked up 20 points from a possible 39.
“We said with 13 games to go it was 13 cup finals, we’ve won 6 drawn 2 and lost 1 of those cup finals which is a great run, it’s only Grimsby in better run of form over a sustained period of time”.
Clarke said he wants to “get the mem bouncing” in the game against Chester on the Friday to get the players and everyone involved with the club motivated for the final push of the season.
It is also coming up the anniversary of when Clarke was announced as manager of Bristol Rovers, in that time it has been an up and down spell with the relegation from league 2 at the start of his tenure. But since that relegation Rovers and Clarke have produced a team to get the fans believing again.
“I am honoured and privileged to be Bristol Rovers manager, I’m doing everything 24/7 to try and get this club back into the league. The players want to do it for the supporters, I want to do it for the supporters, not for myself.”