"I like ambition, I like drive, I don't want to be sitting in League Two forever" - Cheltenham Town boss Darrell Clarke after Stevenage defeat

So close, but yet so far in the end

Yes, an agonising day. I am gutted for our supporters and gutted for everybody at the football club. To miss out by a couple of points is gut-wrenching. But the table doesn’t lie after 46 games and the boys have given me everything since I’ve been in the building and since I’ve been at the club, but we’ve just missed out.

You couldn’t fault them today, could you?

There haven’t been many games when I can fault them to be honest. Just on that quality element of what they need to be a League One player on a more regular basis and we haven’t shown that, certainly in the last eight weeks, that bit of quality at times. Heart, desire and application: the boys haven’t left anything out on the pitch, that’s for sure. I always say this in life, it’s not how many times you get knocked down in life, it’s how many times you get up. Tough day for the football club, but it’s a great club and I am sure we’ll bounce back.

It wasn’t today was it, that cost you, it was over the course of the whole season. Are there times where you can look back and think ‘if only’?

It'll always be the case, but now is not the time to dwell on that. It takes a good few days to get over something like this, so we have to recoup, have a look at what the plans are moving forward and go again. It's a great club with a really loyal fanbase and today wasn't our day.

After a summer off are you going to be ready to come back and have a go at League Two?

For me, I need to get my head around this. I have given everything I can to try and keep us in League One and I have failed to do that by the smallest of margins. I need time to settle and think, need to speak about what the plan is moving forward and I am sure those discussions will go further down the line with the chairman and the shareholders. We'll see. Now is not the time to really talk about my future. I am really gutted for everybody at the football club, I really am.

What do you want to see from the club?

It's all about the plan of how we move forward once the dust has settled on these things, see how we want to grow to bounce back. Those discussions will go further down the line. It's very raw at the minute, so I don't want to talk too much about that. I want to apologise to our fans as the manager who has led us back into League Two, but certainly myself and the players, we felt we did everything and I am sure we'll bounce back.

Were there times when you really thought you could do it?

I never stopped believing since I came in the door. We knew the task in hand and I tried to keep the place positive and energised. We've had some hits, obviously, we are Cheltenham Town in League One, so that will always be the case, but the boys kept finding that response. My biggest disappointment is, which can happen to all clubs up and down the country, if I had a fully fit squad, or even a few players and even a bit of luck on that front, we could have quite comfortably stayed up, but it wasn't to be and it wasn't our day, it wasn't our season. We must go again.

Tell us a bit more about players playing through the pain barrier

Keeno (Aidan Keena) has an operation on his shoulder on Wednesday. He still wanted to be part of it. (Lewis) Freestone has had a problem in his knee for a long period of time and he's not been able to train. Lloydy (George Lloyd) has been playing through the pain barrier with a tendon injury, Tayls (Matty Taylor) has come back two or three weeks too soon. Petty (Tom Pett) has a thigh strain. Numerous boys have put their bodies on the line. Curtis Davies has just spoken in there, 39-year-old man and what a warrior .He'll probably call it a day now, but what a guy, what a guy. He said it was a privilege to play with these boys, for their resilience this season. He doesn't mince his words, so that's credit to the boys because they've had a response from a proper warrior.

The 1,200+ supporters were noisy all afternoon

They couldn't give me any more, since I've been here, they couldn't have given me any more. We've had some disappointments, but for me personally, they gave me absolutely everything. They've come in their numbers today and they were exceptional. Gutted we couldn't get the win for them.

Have you been surprised by just how influential Curtis Davies has been on the pitch this season, considering his age?

Not really. We just had to find a way to get Curtis Davies into the team because he defends his box so well and attacks the opposition box so well too. It was a case of getting him into the team. He was on the bench when I first came in, but he is a warrior of a player. He has his limitations because he's 39 now and his legs aren't as fresh as they used to be, but what a guy.

The connection between the team and the fans is definitely there now isn't it, based on that evidence?

Yes, they have been magnificent and I can't thank them enough from the bottom of my heart, the way they've been with myself and the players - they have bought into what we've tried to do. I am just devastated for them that we fell short, by a couple of points. If, buts and maybes, such a small margin, but that's the table and it doesn't lie after 46 games.

Matty Taylor with his seventh goal in 11 starts - not quite enough, but what an impact he's made

We can't have a team full of experienced players because of resources, but Tayls' stats with the goals he has scored...Streety (Rob Street) and Lloydy missing good players at key times. It's always a combination of things and that's why it hasn't quite fallen right. As I said to the boys, I am proud of the efforts and I genuinely don't think they could have given me any more, I really don't, since I've been here.

Is it a case of the club needing to persuade you to stay with their ambition?

Talks will go and we'll have honest conversations moving forward. The chairman and people at the club are really good people, but I like ambition, I like drive, I don't want to be - no disrespect - sitting in League Two forever. It took a lot of years for this club to bounce back. But we'll have those discussions, see where we're going, see where the club wants to go. It's not a Darrell Clarke decision, it's a club decision of where we all see it moving forward.