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Norburn leaves Rovers ahead of crucial clash at Wimbledon

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: April 05, 2014

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Ollie Norburn has left Bristol Rovers by mutual consent in a bid to give him a head start in finding another club.

The 21-year-old midfielder's contract was due to expire at the end of the season.

He has not played in the first team since the FA Cup defeat at Birmingham in mid-January, one of 22 appearances this season.

First team manager Darrell Clarke said: "Ollie has left the club – and that was mutually agreed. For whatever reason it has not gone well for him this season. He has a chance now to try to earn himself a contract at another club – and we wish him well and thank him for his efforts."

Norburn spent three months on loan with Rovers from Leicester during the 2011/12 season and joined on a permanent basis that summer.

He appeared in 36 games in all competitions last season – and was rewarded with a new contract last summer.

Rovers are 20th after the midweek defeat away to Bury and go into today's away game with AFC Wimbledon six points clear of the bottom two knowing that they can leapfrog their 17th-placed visitors with a win.

Clarke, taking charge of his third game since stepping up from being the assistant boss, said: "We have to keep it positive and have a right good go at Wimbledon.

"I want to see improvement in performances – and that is my challenge to the players and they have to be mentally strong enough to take that.

"We go into the game three points better off than we were last week after two games, we are six points off the bottom two, and there are teams within our reach above us."

Rovers defender Danny Woodards (knee) will be assessed, but Chris Beardsley will be fit after experiencing some tightness in his leg muscles. Goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall and winger Kaid Mohamed are expected to be available despite minor knocks.

Earlier this season, Mohamed was part of the Wimbledon side that lost 3-0 to Rovers, following goals from David Clarkson, Tom Parkes and Matt Harrold.

"It wasn't the best of days that one," said Mohamed, who was coming to the end of a loan spell at Kingsmeadow.

"Knowing some of the lads there as I do, I'm sure they will be looking to put things right in the return fixture. We will have to be ready for that and we'll need to start well because they are a good side."

Mohamed is looking forward to returning to a place that holds special memories for him, having played six games for the club in the run-in as they completed their rise from the lower reaches of the part-time ranks to the Football League.

He scored a hat-trick in the Conference play-off semi-final against Fleetwood and then featured in the penalty shoot-out victory over Luton in the final.

"I was in that side that won promotion to the Football League and I am proud to have been a part of that," said Mohamed. "I look back on that period as probably being the best time of my football career, but, for me, the important thing is the here and now. I'm a Bristol Rovers player now."

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