Bristol Rovers v Doncaster Rovers: The Opposition View - ‘It feels like we’re at the bottom of a very deep pit’

Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke
Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke

Momentum is the word for Doncaster Rovers and they are looking to maintain it at the Memorial Stadium this weekend.

Hosts Bristol Rovers are deep in the mire as they prepare to welcome Grant McCann’s side, having lost their five matches in all competitions and sitting four points clear of safety in League One.

With doubts over the future of manager Darrell Clarke and uncertainty over the future ownership of the club, we spoke to the Jonathan Evely of the Bristol Post to get the lowdown on the Gas.

Q: The situation at the Memorial Stadium currently looks grim. How would you assess the lay of the land both on and off the pitch at the club?

JE: It feels like Rovers are at the bottom of a very deep pit at the moment and manager Darrell Clarke even confessed that he can't see the dark at the end of the tunnel. 

That said in all my time covering football I don't think I have seen a side who are more unlucky.

Rovers are creating chances and they have hit the woodwork on so many occasions, certainly more than they have scored goals. They would be the best side in the country at crossbar challenge. 

Off the pitch there is a lack of communication from the powers that be at the club with rumours of a take over shadowing the club. 

Q: What were the expectations on the club at the start of the campaign?

JE: Probably to be in midtable with a hope of challenging for the play-offs, it certainly wasn't a relegation battle which the club are certainly now in. 

Q: How is Darrell Clarke viewed and is his job under threat?

JE: Clarke is a cult hero at the club having won double promotion out of the conference back into the EFL.

It is fair to say he has a lot of credit in the bank but it is starting to run out and there is a section of the devoted fanbase who are losing faith.

After the 2-1 defeat to Gillingham on Tuesday last week, Clarke suggested he was going away to think about his future - it seems very unlikely that he would walk away and I would say he has until January to sort things out on the pitch. 

Q: What system and style of play does Clarke favour?

JE: Clarke makes lots of changes both in personnel and formation but Rovers' best shape this season has been a 5-3-2 formation. 

Q: Who are the danger men for Rovers?

JE: Liam Sercombe is the key man in the heart of the Rovers midfield and he has found his goalscoring boots in the last few weeks as well.

Down the flanks, former Doncaster midfielder Kyle Bennett and Sam Matthews are both dangerous but neither man has scored anything like enough goals this season.