Clarke piles pres­sure on Rovers’ ri­vals as tus­sle at top goes to wire

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP - By Ju­lian Ben­netts

Bris­tol Rovers man­ager Dar­rell Clarke heaped the pres­sure on Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley and Ox­ford United as the race for au­to­matic pro­mo­tion goes to the fi­nal day.

Two of the three will join Northamp­ton Town in League One next sea­son, with Ac­cring­ton on 84 points, Ox­ford United a point back and Bris­tol Rovers a fur­ther point be­hind in the play-off places af­ter all three of them won their games on Satur­day.

Rovers host rel­e­gated Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge in what looks to be the eas­i­est of the fi­nal round of games – and Clarke be­lieves that nerves could get to one of their pro­mo­tion ri­vals.

“We are the chas­ing team and the other two teams will no doubt be re­ally ner­vous,” said Clarke.

“They have every­thing to lose in that last game and we have every­thing to gain.

“We have to make sure we do our job next Satur­day, that is the key. If we fin­ish on 85 points and find our­selves not pro­moted we are very, very un­for­tu­nate and will go again in the play-offs. But what a week next week.

“Ev­ery team has to win. We have all won this week­end and ev­ery team has to win next week­end and we will see where we are.

“We have to con­cen­trate on our jobs. Are we due a bit of luck? Next Satur­day will be a test for us.

“It will be a full house with a chance to win au­to­matic pro­mo­tion. We will be right on the front foot on what prom­ises to be an un­be­liev­able day.”

The team who do miss out on au­to­matic pro­mo­tion will face AFC Wim­ble­don in the play-offs af­ter they sealed their spot along­side Portsmouth and Ply­mouth thanks to a goal­less draw with Steve­nage, to the delight of man­ager Neal Ardley. “I am ec­static and ex­cited,” said Ardley, whose side will achieve the best league po­si­tion in their his­tory. “I’m also re­lieved that we got our­selves over the line.”

Bris­tol fash­ion: Billy Bodin leads Rovers’ cel­e­bra­tions in Satur­day’s 4-1 win at York City

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