Bolton Wanderers v Bristol Rovers Match Preview
By Simon Gray
Bristol Rovers visit Bolton Wanderers for the first time in twenty-eight years this week as they hope end their winless away run that stretches back to October.
Rovers are eleventh in League One going into the game but have drawn their last five matches in a row. They played out a 1-1 draw at home to promotion chasing Scunthorpe United last time out with manager Darrell Clarke labelling his side ‘a nearly team’.
Clarke admitted to the press after the match: “An individual error has cost us. We will rally around Ellis because that is the sort of group we have.
“He is very down in the changing room, but that is football and he has to handle that. He is a strong character and the lads will get around him and support him.
“We build the club on character and mental strength. Players will go through their careers here when they are finding their form or they need to improve. We have to keep helping them along the way.”
Looking ahead to the midweek match, Rovers only have one new injury worry after it was revealed that Lee Brown missed Saturday’s match after picking up a knock in training.
Will Puddy is unavailable for the matchday squad as it was revealed earlier today that he has joined National League side Sutton United on a month’s loan.
Bolton go into the game chasing the top two but have ground to make up after losing to top of the league Sheffield United last time out. Wanderers have though won nine of their last 11 home league games.
Bolton sit fourth after Saturday’s defeat but manager Phil Parkinson insists that they must respond quickly and swiftly.
“We need a response,” he told The Bolton News.
“It’s no use sulking because we have got to get some key players back out there on the training pitch and ready for the Bristol Rovers game.”
On chasing promotion, Parkinson said: “The lead is stretching all the time.
“From our point of view, we have got some good players coming back into this team and we need to be at full strength to compete.”
Bolton have three players back in contention ahead of the match with Jay Spearing, Andy Taylor and Gary Madine all pushing for a place in the matchday squad. Spearing, who scored what proved to be the winning goal when the two sides last met back in August, is back from suspension whilst Taylor is back from a hamstring injury.
This will be the first time Rovers visit the Macron Stadium.
The reverse fixture this season ended in a 2-1 Bolton win in August at the Memorial Stadium.
This will be the 31st meeting between the two sides, with Rovers winning 10, Milwall winning 12 and there being eight draws.