LEE CLARK watched Town beat Bristol Rovers 1-0 to make League I’s automatic promotion places then told his players: “We need 10 more battling performances just like this.”
Jordan Rhodes’ fifth-minute shot settled an eventful match at the Memorial Ground in which the 18-goal top scorer missed a second-half penalty and the relegation- threatened home side had two late goals disallowed.
Town leapfrogged Bournemouth, who were beaten by fourth-placed Southampton, while there were also wins for leaders Brighton, eight points in the clear after defeating Tranmere 2-0, third-placed Peterborough, who thumped Carlisle 6-0, and sixth-placed MK Dons, 3-1 victors at Colchester.
Town still have Brighton, Peterborough and MK to play, but boss Clark is focused on tomorrow’s match at Brentford, who themselves won 1-0 at Charlton.
“We’ve got 10 huge games left and we have to win a large proportion of them to stay in the top two because the clubs around us are getting good results as well,” he said.
Clark, whose team stayed in the West Country after Saturday’s game and will head for London tonight, is keeping tabs on Gary Roberts.
The winger was forced to pull out of the Bristol game at the last minute after feeling unwell in the warm-up.
Rhodes wouldn’t have started otherwise, while Aidan Chippendale, who was handed his first-team debut as a 64th-minute substitute, wouldn’t have been in the squad.
“We seem to be getting all kinds of things thrown at us at the minute, with Anthony Pilkington’s broken leg and ankle dislocation being followed by Gary Roberts’ illness, but the lads who were available just got on with it and did a terrific job,” added Clark.