I love it – Coughlan has no problem with altercation between Rovers team-mates

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Graham Coughlan admitted he liked what he saw after two of his Bristol Rovers players began pushing each other during their 1-1 draw with AFC Wimbledon.

Graham Coughlan admitted he liked what he saw after two of his Bristol Rovers players began pushing each other during their 1-1 draw with AFC Wimbledon.

Rovers were trailing after Joe Pigott’s first-half strike put the hosts in front and the frustrations began to show as keeper Jack Bonham and defender James Clarke confronted one another in the penalty area.

The fracas appeared to spark Couglan’s side into action, however, and soon after Ollie Clarke delivered a 78th-minute equaliser of the highest quality as his curled 20-yard effort nestled in the top corner.

‘These lads will have it out with each other and I love it – that is not a problem for me,’ said Coughlan.

‘Jack Bonham has got 17 clean sheets this season and he wanted another one and James [Clarke] is a passionate lad who wears his heart on his sleeve.

‘I don’t want to see too much more in-house fighting but it wasn’t much and I will have it all day – these are people who care.

‘ Rovers’ draw maintains their five-point gap over Wimbledon and the relegation zone, with three games remaining.

The first of those is against fellow relegation battlers Rochdale on Monday, with matches against Fleetwood and promotion-chasing Barnsley to finish off.

Coughlan said: ‘We will start preparations first thing in the morning because if we win against Rochdale on Monday we can preserve our League One status and that is what I wanted to achieve when I joined the club.

‘I know them (Rochdale) and they have a lot of spirit too and a lot of good players so it will be a tough game and probably a very tight one again.

‘ Wimbledon boss Wally Downes, meanwhile, was left to rue the errors his side made as their hopes of survival suffered another setback.

‘I thought we played well in the first half and the second half was even apart from a great bit of skill and they’ve scored from it,’ said Downes.

‘We should have moved on and scored a second and then it wouldn’t have mattered, but we were let down by some technique and we got punished for it.

‘We should have kept good possession but instead we missed a tackle on the 18-yard box and you can’t make mistakes like that.

‘ A third successive draw makes relegation a more realistic possibility for the Dons as they face a tough trip to high-flying Luton next.

‘There are no free hits the way I play football and we will go there to win the game no matter how many games they have gone unbeaten,’ he added.

‘We have got three games left and we will look to win all of those.

What really irks me is that we keep going one up at home and unfortunately for whatever reason we can’t see it out – we need to show a bit of steel.’

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