Boss Clarke warns Rovers that Cobblers have ‘a squad full of talent’

Darrell Clake was all smiles as his Bristol Rovers team won 6-0 at Sixfields earlier in the season
Darrell Clake was all smiles as his Bristol Rovers team won 6-0 at Sixfields earlier in the season

Bristol Rovers boss Darrell Clarke has warned his team they will be facing ‘a squad full of talent’ when the Cobblers rock up at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday (ko 3pm).

Town travel to the south west desperate for three points as they battle against relegation from Sky Bet League One, and Gas boss Clarke admits he is surprised to see Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s struggling in the lower reaches of the table.

The Cobblers are still one place and one point above the relegation zone, but they could find themselves in the bottom four with just 10 games to play if things don’t go their way this weekend.

Clarke is well aware of the situation Town find themselves in, but will be making sure his players know they are in for a difficult afternoon.

“They have got Matt Grimes on loan from Swansea, who paid £1m for him, and they have Matt Crooks who went up to Rangers for big money from Accrington Stanley,” said the Rovers boss.

“You have John-Joe O’Toole who scores a lot of goals, so the experience within the team and the squad is pretty strong.

“They have had a big player turnover, and sometimes that can happen after bad runs, but they have a squad full of talent and obviously they will be aiming to stay in the league.”

Clarke has had something of an Indian sign over Cobblers teams in the past couple of seasons, claiming wins in the past three meetinsgs between the teams, with Rovers scoring a whopping 14 goals in the process.

The last time Town went to the Memorial Stadium, which was 13 months ago, they were thrashed 5-0, and then at Sixfields in October, Rovers went one better and claimed a 6-0 success at Sixfields.

But Clarke insists those results, and in particular the one earlier this season, will count for nothing when the teams take to the pitch on Saturday.

Asked about that 6-0 win, Clarke said: “That is neither here nor there to be honest, they are a team that’s fighting for their lives and Jimmy has made a lot of changes.

“I think there will only be two or three players that will be starting against us who played that day, and the squad is totally different.

“It will be like any other team and game in league one, it will be a tough one.”