Scunthorpe United v Bristol Rovers Match Preview

Manager Darrell Clarke and Striker Matty Taylor both extended their deals over the summer.

Manager Darrell Clarke and Striker Matty Taylor both extended their deals over the summer. (Credit: BBC)

By Simon Gray

The English Football League One returns this weekend with newly promoted Bristol Rovers travelling to Glanford Park to face Scunthorpe United.

The Gas sealed back-to-back promotions for the first time in their history thanks to left back Lee Brown’s stoppage time winner against Dagenham and Redbridge.

After a summer of fans thinking will he/won’t he sign for both boss Darrell Clarke and star striker Matty Taylor, Rovers go into the new season with the two signing new deals to stay at the Memorial Stadium.

Striker Taylor rejected numerous clubs to stay in Bristol where as manager Clarke rejected Championship giants Leeds United.

Rovers head into the new season with three new signings in defender Peter Hartley, winger Byron Moore and striker Luke James all joining and Darrell Clarke has said ‘it’s sink or swim’ for his players in League One.

“It is sink and swim for them this season and they have to show me that they can step up to the plate. If they can show me that they can do that then the future is bright for them, if not they are all aware of what happens,” he told the Bristol Post.

“The boys will have the opportunity to show me that they can do it as this level but whatever happens I will still be looking to bring three maybe four in before the deadline. I want serious pressure on players to keep their shirts and that is the way it has got to be.”

Scunthorpe head into the season also making three signings with Duane Holmes, Sam Mantom and Josh Morris all joining Graham Alexander’s side on free transfers.

The Iron finished the 2015/16 League One season strongly with six wins from their final six games and narrowly missing out on the play offs on goal difference but club captain Stephen Dawson has said that finishing in the top six this season is a minimum target.

“Anything less than the play-offs is a failure,” he told the Scunthorpe Telegraph.

“That has got to be the minimum target every year.

“Every team will be saying that but we are paid to go out and win football matches. If you just set your targets on a mid-table finish you shouldn’t really be here.

“It is a big year for us this year especially after last season when we under performed, and we did under perform.

“To not make the play-offs was not good enough for all of us including myself.

“Hopefully we can put it right this year, but it will be a lot tougher.”

As far as team news goes, Scunthorpe are looking like they have a fully fit squad, however Graham Alexander will be sweating over the fitness of last season’s top scorer Paddy Madden who missed last week’s friendly at Hartlepool due to a calf strain.

Rovers manager Darrell Clarke has a few more injury worries than his opposite number with defender Daniel Leadbitter, central midfielders Lee Mansell and Liam Lawrence and wingers Byron Moore and Cristian Montano all carrying knocks heading into Saturday’s fixture.

That being said, it is unknown whether any of them will feature or not as Clarke likes to keep his cards close to his chest when it comes to team news.


The last meeting between the two sides came in February 2014 where a 1-1 draw was played out at Glanford Park.

Both sides have Gibraltar internationals in their sides, Scunthorpe’s Scott Wiseman and Rovers’ Jake Gosling both having played in competitive fixtures for their country.

Scunthorpe goalkeeper Luke Daniels spent a month on loan at Rovers in 2011, making nine appearances for the Gas.





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