Darrell Clarke: 'Exhausted' Bristol Rovers boss 'needs break' after dramatic promotion

Darrell Clarke
Darrell Clarke has led Bristol Rovers to back-to-back promotions

Bristol Rovers boss Darrell Clarke says he "needs a break" after his side's dramatic promotion from League Two.

Rovers scored a stoppage-time winner to go up at the expense of Accrington, who were held to a draw by Stevenage.

Clarke's side won nine straight home matches to return to League One for the first time since relegation in 2011.

"I told the owner a while ago I need to recharge. I'm going to have a good summer because I'm mentally exhausted," Clarke told BBC Radio Bristol.

"I'm going to need an institute if I don't get myself a break, to chill out, switch off and relax for a few weeks.

"I'm getting married in the summer. I've got my stag do in Vegas. I'm going to enjoy my wedding, enjoy my stag do and enjoy that we've got another promotion."

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Bristol Rovers celebrate dramatic promotion

A different kind of tears, two years on

Clarke succumbed to tears on the pitch at the Memorial Stadium in May 2014, when Rovers were relegated to the National League on the final day.

Since then, the 38-year-old former Salisbury City manager has led the Pirates to consecutive promotions.

"I can't believe the emotion that's going through me at the moment," said Clarke.

"It is an unbelievable feeling. To bounce back with a couple of promotions is a credit to those guys.

"It's a special club. To see the joy on people's faces, that was a magic moment.

Bristol Rovers
Lee Brown's 92nd-minute winner sparked wild celebrations at the Memorial Stadium

"I said to the players early doors, 'lads if you aren't a top-seven team this year, you're going to have to be moving on come the end of the season'. I'm open and honest.

"Boy, have they proven they're top-seven players. Eighty-five points, and the run we've had the last 15 games, it's truly amazing."

Rovers president Wael Al-Qadi, who bought the club in February and has described Clarke as the "perfect match" for the club, added: "I can't believe it. We did it. Somebody pinch me.

"I'm just really excited and happy for the fans because they deserved this. Everybody is excited about the future.

"What next? We tackle division by division. Now we're in League One. With this group of players, anything is possible."

Pirates set for Vegas

Bristol Rovers defender Tom Lockyer revealed the players have plans for a party in Las Vegas, thanks to securing promotion.

"It's something we've had in the pipeline for quite a while now," he said. "It was all dependant on promotion. So hopefully we'll be off to Vegas soon.

"I'm on cloud nine right now. It's no more than we deserve, the fans, the team, everyone.

"On Thursday night, I woke up three times in the night, all about today and different scenarios.

"I believed, if we could win today, one of them (Accrington or Oxford) would slip up, because it was about time we had a bit of luck."

Can Rovers keep their top scorer?

Matty Taylor
Ex-Forest Green Rovers striker Matty Taylor has netted 48 goals in two years at Bristol Rovers

Rovers fans will be hoping that playing League One football will be enough to convince top scorer Matty Taylor to stay at the Memorial Stadium.

Chairman Steve Hamer has promised the club will "fight" to keep the striker and they will "have the chance to match" any offers made to him.

Asked if a new contract for the man with 28 goals for the season was likely, Al-Qadi added: "We're going to try. It's up to Darrell."

Taylor, who netted 13 times in the final 14 games, said: "I would like to (stay) but I need to go and speak to Wael right now and see what he's saying. Then obviously I'll make my decision.

"I'm sure I'll be near the front (of the queue). I'm just enjoying the moment. It's incredible."

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