Ollie Clarke: Bristol Rovers midfielder 'still learning'

Ollie Clarke
Clarke scored the equaliser for Bristol Rovers at Eastleigh but was sent off in injury time

Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke has praised the attitude of Ollie Clarke despite the midfielder's late sending off at Eastleigh.

The 22-year-old scored a stunning second-half equaliser for Rovers but then received two yellow cards in as many injury-time minutes.

But the Rovers boss told BBC Radio Bristol: "I'm disappointed but I'm not going to have a pop.

"He's made mistakes but he's scored a wonder strike which got us a point."

Rovers managed to salvage a 1-1 draw at Eastleigh, extending their unbeaten run to six games, despite going down to 10 men in the first-half after goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall's red card.

It was a first career sending off for Clarke, who came through the Pirates academy system and broke into the first team in 2012.

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Clarke on Eastleigh v Bristol Rovers

He was a regular last season in League Two and has scored twice in 11 games since Rovers' drop to the Conference.

And Darrell Clarke added to BBC Radio Bristol: "He's a young lad who's still learning. He's got to improve on the ball but his work-rate, effort and desire is great.

"He's a boy who was in tears when we got relegated. He didn't want to show his face in Bristol. But he cares about the club and he works hard."

Meanwhile, defender Neal Trotman is set to be offered an extended deal after impressing during his first month at the club.

Trotman arrived on a short-term contract in August, following his release by Plymouth.

And Clarke said: "We're already in talks with Neil and he's going to have a medical.

"He's definitely a player I want to reward and we want him to stay until the end of the season.

"He's thoroughly enjoying his football and he's great in the changing room. Hopefully we'll get that tied down soon."

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