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Darrell Clarke: I won't over-react after the slow start at Bristol Rovers

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 15, 2014

Bristol Rovers players applaud the travelling fans after Tuesday night's defeat at Barnet PICTURE: NEIL BROOKMAN

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Manager Darrell Clarke knows that guiding Bristol Rovers to a first win of the season at Altrincham tomorrow is the only way to silence his critics at the end of a difficult opening week of the campaign.

Rovers have collected one point from their opening two Conference Premier games and were the subject of criticism from some supporters in the aftermath of a 2-0 defeat at Barnet on Tuesday night.

Clarke said: "You are expecting it (criticism) whenever you lose a game.

"You lose a game and people get carried away, but I have no problem with that because that is all part and parcel of football these days.

"Mistakes get made and everything gets over scrutinised because we are a big club in the context of the league we are in.

"What I have to do is manage that situation because that is the situation we are in.

"We are going to take some hits this season and the important thing for me is to make sure we recover from them quickly. I won't be over-reacting to the situation and I'll make sure the players won't be over-reacting either. We just need to kick-start our season with a win at Altrincham tomorrow."

Clarke, meanwhile, admitted some responsibility for the disappointing first-half performance that ultimately proved costly at The Hive.

The manager made three unforced changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Grimsby on the opening day.

He said: "We made individual mistakes, but I do hold myself a bit responsible for the first-half performance. Lessons have been learned and I'm still confident that we will be in and amongst it."

Clarke, meanwhile, is hoping to complete a deal later today to sign a winger on loan until January.

Rovers will get their first experience of taking on one of the Conference Premier's part-time sides at Moss Lane tomorrow, but Clarke warned: "I don't think it will make much difference at this stage of the season.

"You might start to see some negative effects after Christmas when a little bit of fatigue sets in.

"Every single game is a challenge at this level and we respect each and every single team in the same way regardless of whether they are part-time or full-time."

The club, meanwhile, has been forced to reduce the number of overnight stays for away games and Clarke, who will be making the 150-mile trip with his players on Saturday morning, said: "We have to cut our cloth accordingly and I don't have a problem with it. The finances of the club are what they are and we just have to get on with it."

Clarke is hopeful of having Steve Mildenhall available again after the goalkeeper missed Tuesday night's game at Barnet after a relative was rushed into hospital.

Mildenhall trained yesterday, but Clarke said: "We are hopeful, but we'll have to monitor the situation right up until we leave on Saturday ."

Tom Lockyer is also a doubt after requiring extensive dental work to straighten his teeth after catching a stray elbow in the face at The Hive earlier this week.

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