Bristol Rovers players failed Paul Buckle - Stanley

Craig Stanley
Stanley followed Buckle in leaving Torquay for Bristol Rovers in the summer

Bristol Rovers midfielder Craig Stanley believes the players "let down" departed manager Paul Buckle.

Buckle was sacked on Tuesday following a poor run of results which has left the Pirates 19th in League Two.

"It's always going to come down on the manager and players never really get the blame," 28-year-old Stanley told BBC Radio Bristol.

"We've all got to take the blame as we haven't been good enough - we've gone out on the pitch and let him down."

Stanley, who played under Buckle at Torquay, added: "For whatever reason we've made mistakes. We've got to start taking more responsibility for what we do because this season hasn't been good enough."

He was one of 21 new signings to arrive during Buckle's seven-month spell in charge at the Memorial Stadium.

Stanley 'gutted' by Buckle exit

He became a regular in the Rovers first team from the outset, but fell out of favour for a number of weeks after Buckle questioned the midfielder's attitude.

Despite the reported dressing room disagreements Stanley insists the team are deflated following the 41-year-old's departure.

"It's strange going out on the training pitch and the gaffer isn't there," he said.

"A lot of the lads will be gutted he has gone, especially me as he was the reason I came to the club and I turned down other clubs to come to Bristol Rovers.

"I don't think the gaffer changed at all. He's a still genuine hard-working bloke and I've got a lot of respect for him."

Assistant manager Shaun North will take charge of Rovers' FA Cup third-round tie with Aston Villa on Saturday, with a new permanent boss set to be appointed the following week.

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