Clarke main­tains si­lence at Rovers

Pi­rates boss skips a fourth press obli­ga­tion since ques­tion­ing his own sit­u­a­tion

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Sport - JOHN EVELY [email protected]­plc.com

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.

Alex James/ JMP

Bris­tol Rovers as­sis­tant man­ager Mar­cus Ste­wart

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