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