Darrell Clarke hoping for a league clash at the SoL
Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke is looking ahead to next season already and admits he is relishing a potential clash against Sunderland.
Although he thinks we still have a chance of escaping the drop, he does say that a potential appearance at the Stadium of Light is a far more appetising prospect than a trip to non-league Dartford in what he thinks will be a very competitive division next season:
Three or four years ago we were playing at Braintree and Alfreton, and I’m not being disrespectful to Sunderland because they still have a chance to get out of it.
The bigger teams at home it’s got to be relished, it’s a great competitive division. It’s a tougher division, certainly if you’d ask me, would I rather go to Dartford away, and no disrespect to Dartford, or the Stadium of Light...
We want to be playing against the big teams and beating them, that’s the next hurdle, to try and start winning games against sides in this league.
Academy graduate makes Notodden FK debut
Josh Robson made his debut for Norwegian side Notodden FK in their Norwegian Football Cup tie away to fourth tier side Pors Grenland this week - his first appearance for the club since joining on loan from Sunderland earlier this month.
Robson joined former Sunderland U23 defender Michael Ledger - who joined Notodden on a permanent basis in March - in the starting line-up as their side won thanks to a 120th minute winner from Akinbola Akinyemi.
Robson will be hoping his performance was enough to earn him a permanent place in the side as he looks to impress ahead of his Sunderland contract expiring in June.
Mixed injury news for Coleman
Chris Coleman has been handed a fitness boost ahead of the crunch relegation clash with Burton Albion, as both Adam Matthews and Billy Jones are set to return to action. Matthews missed the last game against Reading after picking up a first half knock against Norwich whilst Jones has been missing since the March defeat to Aston Villa due to a knee injury.
Their return to action comes at a good time with Bryan Oviedo ruled out after limping out of training today. Furthermore, with Donald Love already confirmed to be missing for the rest of the season, Matthews and Jones could both be pressed into action from the start.
Coleman, speaking in his press conference yesterday, revealed that Joel Asoro will also miss out with a hamstring problem, but is hopeful he may have a part to play before the end of the season:
We lost Bryan Oviedo today – he limped off. He won’t be available this weekend, and nor will Joel Asoro who limped off on Tuesday with a hamstring problem, although it looks like he could play a part further down the line.
Lynden Gooch and Donald Love won’t be available for the remaining games of the season. That’s all very, very, disappointing.
But John O’Shea trained today and came through it OK, which is good news. Billy Jones and Adam Matthews also trained today.