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Opposition Profile: Bristol Rovers

2 June 2017

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A new feature where we take a closer look at who Rovers will face in League One next season.

Bristol Rovers

Founded: 1883
Nickname: Rovers

Founded in 1883 as Black Arabs FC, the club changed its name to Bristol Rovers in 1899.

Admitted to the Football League in 1920, they have played league football every season since with the exception of the 2014-15 season, when they won the Conference Premier play-offs.

Rovers then made it back-to-back promotions by finishing third in League Two in 2015-16.

Arguably their most successful season in recent history came 10 years ago, when the club won the 2007 League Two play-off final at Wembley and were runners-up in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, in the last final to take place at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.  

The Manager: Darrell Clarke 

Mansfield-born, Darrell Clarke started out with his hometown team, playing over 150 league games for The Stags, before joining Hartlepool United in 2001.

He racked up over 100 appearances for Pools, whilst also spending time on loan at Stockport County, Port Vale and Rochdale.

He ended his playing career at Salisbury City, where he took up his first managerial position in 2010, leading the club to promotion into the Conference Premier from the Southern League with two play-off final victories in three seasons.

The 39-year-old was appointed manager of Bristol Rovers in March 2014, but couldn’t prevent the club from dropping out of the Football League.

However, Clarke has since guided Rovers back up the league ladder, winning the 2015 Conference Premier play-off final, before securing automatic promotion from League Two in 2016.     

The Ground: Memorial Stadium 

Commonly known as the Memorial Ground or The Mem, the stadium is dedicated to the memory of local rugby union players of the city killed during World War One.

Rovers have played their home games at the 12,300-capacity stadium since 1996, initially as tenants of Bristol Rugby Club, who moved to the redeveloped Ashton Gate to ground share with Bristol City in 2014.

The stadium, which is located in Horfield, is also used for the rugby varsity between the city’s two universities and hosted the Rugby League World Cup group game between the Cook Islands and USA in 2013. 

Last Season: 10th, League One

Back in League One after successive promotions, Rovers enjoyed a steady season in the third tier.

After a brief play-off push towards the end of the season, Darrell Clarke’s side finished in 10th place, their highest Football League finish since the 1999-2000 season. 

In the cup competitions, Rovers knocked out Cardiff City out of the EFL Cup, before losing a five-goal thriller away to Chelsea at the second round stage, whilst in the FA Cup, Rovers suffered a surprise second round defeat at home to Barrow. 

Last Meeting: March 7th, 1992

Bristol Rovers triumphed 3-0 over Rovers in the last meeting between the two teams in a Division Two clash back in March 1992.

Kenny Dalglish’s side would bounce back from the setback by securing a place in the play-offs just two months later, before booking their place in the newly-created Premier League by winning at Wembley.

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