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" "They're not too far from safety so we're expecting a really tough encounter against a team in need of points and under a new manager."

2 March 2018

Darrell Clarke insists Saturday's trip to MK Dons will be no easy task, despite their opponents league position.

The Dons are placed 22nd in League One, five points adrift from safety without having won a league game in 2018.

Despite their precarious position, the gaffer believes taking them lightly would be a mistake.

"MK Dons have got a very strong squad on paper and a lot of players are coming back in after injuries and suspensions and it was a squad that was expected to finish in the top six not the bottom six." Darrell told Radio Bristol.

"They're not too far from safety so we're expecting a really tough encounter against a team in need of points and under a new manager.

"We're under no illusions that when we're playing teams that are fighting for their lives it's no easy game and it'll certainly be a test on Saturday."

Much of the talk surrounding this fixture has been based around the adverse weather conditions, with Bristol currently covered in snow and ice making travel in and around the city troublesome.

Whilst many other Football League games have been postponed as a result, Rovers' game looks set to go ahead, an occurrence Darrell and the players have prepared for as normal.

"They've got undersoil heating and the pitch is playable so for us is just all about making sure we and our fans get there safely.

"Preparations have been difficult but it's no different to any other club up and down the country so it's just about adjusting and we've been training on a 4G surface."

"It's not ideal but it's got to be done and we've need to make sure we're ready for the game on Saturday and assume it is on."

Preparations have been somewhat abnormal for Rovers this week and as Darrell said, for most clubs up and down the country.

Even with the climatic adversities, the same principles of getting ready for a game remained.

 "We're always working on the opposition down to every player because you never know when injuries come into play.

"They've changed their system to a back three and they've tweaked things elsewhere but we've done our work on them as we do with every team and they've got the potential to change it again.

"We'll all know the gameplan and with our starting 11, sometimes it can be picked as early as Thursday and sometimes it won't be right until I'm about to give out the team on a Saturday afternoon."

Catch the full interview will Darrell on BBC Radio Bristol from 6pm this evening.

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