Clarke maintains silence at Rovers
Pirates boss skips a fourth press obligation since questioning his own situation
BRISTOL Rovers boss Darrell Clarke has missed his club’s fourth press obligation in the past ten days.
Instead, assistant manager Marcus Stewart filled in, which is not wholly unusual, especially when media duties for the Checkatrade Trophy matches are concerned.
But rarely, if ever, has Stewart done three press conferences in a row, with the club also having opted not to do their normal pre-game interview with BBC Radio Bristol on Wednesday. Stewart insisted that the manager was unavailable to speak to the press because he was at a board meeting, although he was spotted at the training ground moments before the briefing was due to start.
The time of the press conference was also set by the club themselves.
Clarke’s absence is worthy of note because he cast some doubt over his future at the struggling League One club when saying he had to go away and analyse his position as well as the direction the club was going in following a 2-1 defeat to ten-man Gillingham on November 27.
That made it five straight defeats in a row in all competitions for Rovers, and left them sitting in 21st spot in League One, four points shy of getting themselves out of the relegation zone.
Ten days later, Clarke has still not spoken publicly despite the club’s 2-1 victory over Swansea City Under21s on Wednesday night in the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy, where he was in the dugout alongside Stewart.
Rovers play seventh-placed Doncaster Rovers at the Memorial Stadium today.
BRISTOL Rovers striker Alex Jakubiak still has plenty to work on if he is to become a top striker, assistant boss Marcus Stewart has warned.
Despite the on-loan Watford front man scoring a stunning solo goal in the 89th minute to take Rovers into the third round of the Checkatrade Trophy with a 2-1 win over Swansea City Under-21s on Wednesday night, Stewart explained he has plenty of areas still to work on.
Jakubiak is having a bit of a personal goal of the season competition in the Checkatrade Trophy, having belted in a stunning first-time blast in the 2-0 group stage victory over Yeovil before finishing at the end of a 70-metre run, which saw him beat two defenders and the goalkeeper at the Liberty Stadium.
“I would love to see him get a tapin,” Stewart said. “I would love to see him make a run off the ball and receive it and get a tap in with one, two or three touches.
“But like we have seen, he has got that match-winning ability when the ball is at his feet, you think something is going to happen. That is what he has got about him.
“He is a young lad (22), and I am trying to get into his head it is not all about scoring the best-looking goals from 20 yards and after 50 yard runs, it is about trying to be a striker who gets all types of goals.
“Saying that, I do understand there are strikers who get goals in different ways, but if you can get them in all ways you will be a top striker.
“The way he has got goals for us can’t happen 20 times a season and it won’t, so he has to find another way of scoring goals to keep ticking along. Not every player, apart from Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, can keep running from 30 yards to get more than 20 goals a season.”
Jakubiak and his Rovers teammates will attempt to build on their Trophy win when they play host to Doncaster in League One today.
The Yorkshire side are seventh in the table, with Rovers down in 21st.
■ Bristol Rovers’ official charity partner, the North Bristol Foodbank, will be hosting a toy collection for supporters to donate gifts ahead of this afternoon’s game.
Over the Christmas period, the charity will be giving out around 200 Christmas hampers to Bristol people who will not otherwise be receiving anything special over the festive period. The items collected will go into these hampers and any cash donated will enable the foodbank to purchase additional items.
Suggestions for donations include small stocking filler gifts, such as small soft toys, books, toy cars, stationery and toiletries, as well as cash donations.
Bristol Rovers assistant manager Marcus Stewart