Wigan Athletic are '˜best in League One' - Rovers chief

Darrell Clarke admits Bristol Rovers are in for a '˜tough test' on Tuesday night against a Wigan Athletic side he rates as '˜the best team in League One'.
Darrell ClarkeDarrell Clarke
Darrell Clarke

Latics have a chance to steal a march on both leaders Blackburn and second-placed Shrewsbury, knowing a win could take them top of the pile on goal difference – with games in hand.

But Clarke’s men will be no pushovers on home soil, as they harbour hopes of mounting a late charge for the play-offs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s a big match against what is the best team in the league for me,” acknowledged the Rovers chief.

“They’re in the quarter-final of the FA Cup as well, and Paul Cook does a fantastic job there.

“It’s all right everybody saying he’s got the best players, the best squad, but you’ve still got to get the results.

“For a team to beat Man City the way they have, you know it’ll be a tough test.

“I get on well with Cooky, he’s a good manager.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We’ve had a couple of run-ins but he was the first one to pick up the phone when we got promoted in League Two. I often pick up the phone to him too.

“I’ve got a good relationship with a few managers to be honest, he’s another one.”

The game certainly won’t be one for the purists, with Clarke scathing in his criticism of the playing surface at the Memorial Stadium that has put the fixture in some doubt given the recent cold spell.

“We’ll see, we’ll try and get a game on obviously,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We can’t control the elements, and we haven’t been able to train on grass today (Monday) because of the firmness and the frost setting in.

“So we’re at the GFA which we use quite a bit. You just have to adapt to it and it’s a decent pitch here at the GFA with a 4G surface.

“So we’ve done a session and prepared as well as we possibly can.

“It’s no excuse for my players, because we prepare that we’re going to play on a rubbish pitch.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It just becomes a frustration at times, because you want to play football a certain way, but you have to adapt to conditions.

“My players aren’t on a let-off, that’s for sure.

“But we have to play in the right areas of the pitch.”