Bristol Rovers v Scunthorpe United Match Preview

By Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers welcome League One promotion chasers Scunthorpe United to the Memorial Stadium hoping to end a four game winless February.

The Pirates have drawn all four matches this month but manager Darrell Clarke has set his sights on his side surpassing Rovers’ highest league finish in almost 20 years.

Clarke’s side have collected 46 points from 33 matches and need 18 more to beat the Paul Trollope side that collected 63 in 2007/08.

“We are already closing in on the 63 points the 2007/08 side managed to get in their first season after promotion to League One. That side had Rickie Lambert, who had cost somewhere in the region of £250,000, and they also brought in one or two other players that summer as well,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.

“The highest total of points that team collected in those four seasons was 63. If we can aim to beat that total it will be the highest league finish and points return this club has had in about 17 or 18 years.

“It is down to the players to go out and achieve that now. They are under no illusions as to where I stand on what I need to see from them over the last 13 games.

“We are pretty pleased with where we are considering where we have come from and with resources that are not comparable to some of the bigger clubs in League One. Let’s just tick the games off keep picking up the points and see where we finish.”

Clarke may choose to change the side that drew with Port Vale after he was left disappointed by the performance at Vale Park.

Clarke rested left back Lee Brown for Bob Harris as his only change from the draw with Sheffield United but admitted in his post match press conference that he possibly should have made more.

Scunthorpe visit the Memorial Stadium on a four game winless run themselves, losing the first two games of the month before draws against Walsall and Sheffield United.

The draw with Sheffield United was a hard-fought one though, with the Iron spending 40 minutes of the match with ten men after Harry Toffolo’s sending off.

Scunthorpe manager Graham Alexander said after the match that he was extremely proud of his players and challenged them to kick on from the performance.

“We have got to realise what it takes to get from a negative to a positive performance,” Alexander told the Scunthorpe Telegraph.

“What you did that was good, you make sure you do again and again. Seasoned professionals learn from each experience.

“You cannot just play a game and go away and not think about it. You have to think about what you have done from both a negative and positive side.

“You are not going to turn from playing as badly as we did against Southend into a champagne performance.

“You have to build on each performance, dig in, and that is what we did on Saturday and we will do it again this weekend.”

As said before, the Iron will be without Harry Toffolo through suspension but Sam Mantom should be available for a starting spot after his substitute appearance against Sheffield United.

Stats

The fixture is a reverse of the opening day, which saw Scunthorpe come out 3-1 winners, despite falling behind.

Scunthorpe goalkeeper Luke Daniels spent part of the 2010/11 season on loan at Rovers, making nine appearances.

This is the 36th meeting between the two sides with Rovers winning 15, Scunthorpe winning eight and their being 12 draws. However, Rovers have only beaten Scunthorpe once in their last seven encounters.

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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