Newport County v Bristol Rovers Match Preview

By Simon Gray

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Bristol Rovers travel to Newport County in this weekend’s early kick off at Rodney Parade.

Rovers go to the Exiles in good form having won the last four matches, scoring 10 and conceding just twice.

Rovers sit in fourth place in the League Two table, just three points off Plymouth in third but manager Darrell Clarke has said that he is reluctant to strengthen his squad in a bid to gain automatic promotion.

“I have a massive amount of faith in the lads we have got and it doesn’t pay to make knee-jerk reactions.” He told the Bristol Post.

“It is easy to look elsewhere as a manager and think answers always lie in new people. One of the biggest arts of management is realising what you have got and working hard to develop the players you have around you.”

Clarke took charge of his 100th game as Rovers boss last weekend, securing his 50th victory in he 1-0 win over Mansfield and his side are slowly creeping up on the automatic promotion places.

“We have some momentum, but that can quickly swing the other way,” said Clarke.

“There was a spell when we only picked up one point from five games earlier in the season and everyone thought we were going to be in a relegation battle.”

Clarke will have former Newport loanee Oliver McBurnie at his disposal once again. The striker scored a memorable 23 minute hat trick on his debut for the Exiles.

Scottish Under 21 international McBurnie, along with Welsh Under 21 pair Tom Lockyer and Ellis Harrison will be featuring in their final League Two match of the month as they will miss the Easter weekend fixtures due to the international break.

Newport go in to the match having shown inconsistency in their past performances, a very impressive thrashing of promotion chasing Portsmouth 3-0 at Fratton Park was followed by a dull 0-0 at home to relegation threatened Hartlepool United just three days later.

After the match, Newport manager Warren Feeney spoke of his players fitness levels.

“I don’t think we got going and we looked a bit leggy. The fantastic win on Saturday [against Portsmouth] took a lot out of us.” He told BBC Radio Wales.

“It was going to be a scrap, they’re on a good run themselves. I’m pleased with a point – it’s a point closer to where we want to be.”

On-loan midfielder Jake Gosling will not be allowed to play as Rovers are his parent club, other than that, Feeney has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the 12.30 kick off.

Stats

The match earlier in the season finished 4-1 to Newport at the Memorial Stadium.

Although having beaten Newport 24 times in their history, Rovers have not won the only match to be played at Rodney Parade, losing 1-0 in August 2013.

The distance between the two clubs is just under 30 miles.

21, Bristol Rovers fan for as long as i can remember. Highlight has to be to 06/07 Play Off win. Seen Rovers at 40/92 clubs in England and counting.

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