ANGRY CLARKE’S GAMBLE HAS TO PAY OFF
DARRELL CLARKE is a talented manager, but threatening his players is a very dangerous manoeuvre.
“It might be coming to the end of the road for one or two if they don’t start improving,” said the Bristol Rovers boss after seeing his side dumped out the FA Cup by Barrow. “We have to invest in the team now.”
Subtlety has never been Clarke’s strong point. This is a man who, in the aftermath of Rovers’ Conference play-off final victory over Grimsby, climbed on a pub table and publicly told the the
to “f***ing print this” before bursting into song.
The latest message is clear: an order to players to pull their fingers out, a demand for board investment or, most likely, both.
Clarke knows his players better than me. Hopefully, his words were dispatched safe in the knowledge that otherwise good eggs would be shaken out of a postpromotion comfort zone.
If not, it could be an uncomfortable six months. Those on the end of the verbal barb will know who they are.
Initially, they could spend the next month focusing not on Rovers’ League One campaign but on finding a January escape route.
Thereafter, there is no guarantee that anybody will actually want any of Clarke’s outcasts, at least before the summer.
Such situations can be managed. But when you’re two points off promotion, it is a complication Clarke could certainly do without.
THREAT: Darrell Clarke