Bristol Rovers striker Matt Harrold aims to reach 20-goal mark at Dagenham & Redbridge
MATT Harrold heads into Bristol Rovers’ final game of the season tomorrow aiming to reach the 20-goal mark.
The Pirates’ leading scorer has already netted 18 times this term – six more than his previous best.
And although he began to think the 20-goal target might be beyond him, doubles in each of the last two home games have rekindled his hopes that he could reach the landmark at Dagenham & Redbridge this weekend.
“The aim of getting 20 goals was always in my head, but a few games ago I didn’t think it was going to be possible,” admitted Harrold.
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“But what has happened in the last two home games has brought it a bit nearer and made me realise there is still a glimmer of hope.
“The game at Dagenham isn’t far from where I’m from, so it would be nice for me to go back there and try and get another couple of goals.
“I grew up on the edge of east London and Essex, so will be staying down there for a few days after the game and, hopefully, a few friends and family will be coming to see me.”
Harrold’s previous best was achieved with Wycombe and he is thrilled to have surpassed it – especially after being sidelined by injury for eight games this season.
“I’m delighted with it. I was judged a bit on my goals when I was at Shrewsbury last season and was a bit disappointed because I only got nine, but felt I deserved a few more than that,” he said.
“That was strange really because I was in a side which was up near the top of the table, whereas we have had quite a tough season, but I’ve managed to score quite a lot of goals. Hopefully next season I can score even more.”
With winger Mustapha Carayol in outstanding form – he played a part in both of Harrold’s goals in last weekend’s 5-1 rout of Accrington Stanley – the big striker is confident he won’t be short of service.
“Everyone can see that what Muzzy is doing at the moment is pretty special,” said Harrold. “It’s taken him a while to get in the team and stay there, but I prefer him playing on the right because he tends to get to the byline more and put crosses in.
“I know he prefers playing on the left, but for selfish reasons I hope the gaffer keeps playing him on the right.”
Rovers have remained unbeaten at home since manager Mark McGhee arrived in January – sparking hopes of a push for honours next term.
But they will be looking for their first away win in eight games at Dagenham.
“I don’t want to build up expectations about next season too much because that’s what happened last summer and I think it ended up working against us,” said Harrold.
“But our home form has been great in the last few months and we really enjoy playing at the Memorial Stadium now, whereas before we felt under pressure.
“There’s still a long way to go, especially away from home because recent results haven’t been good enough so we can’t get ahead of ourselves. But things at the moment are certainly a lot more exciting than they have been.”