Bristol Rovers: Darrell Clarke sets 'top-seven' challenge

Darrell Clarke
Darrell Clarke guided Bristol Rovers to second place and a Conference play-off final win last season

Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke has set his players the target of a top-seven finish and will not settle for a season of consolidation.

Clarke, 37, guided Rovers back into the Football League at the first attempt last term, beating Grimsby on penalties in the Conference play-off final.

And he has challenged his players to maintain their momentum.

"We want to build on the success of last season and have a right good go in League Two this year," he said.

"I don't want to hide behind the fact we've got promoted, so let's consolidate.

"I want my players to show they can perform in the top seven of League Two and we'll see how we go."

Clarke signed a new 12-month rolling contract with the club on Wednesday and also has longer-term ambitions for the club beyond the season ahead.

Speaking to BBC Radio Bristol, he continued: "I believe I can get this club into the top half of League One and this is my goal and aim, so I am looking forward to the new challenge.

"Stuart Sinclair and Jermaine Easter have had important minutes under their belt and the lads have come back fit and sharp, and having got promotion they want to continue that momentum."

Clarke, who still wants to add a right winger to his squad, said negotiations over his own contract had not been a distraction in his preparation for the new season.

"It's nice to get it sorted, to be honest it was never any really panic, I have no interest in leaving," he added,