Bristol Rovers v Chesterfield Match Preview
By Simon Gray
Bristol Rovers will be looking to bounce back after a shock defeat in midweek away at Bury with a win against another struggling side in the form of Chesterfield.
Rovers lost 3-0 at Gigg Lane to dent their play off chances in a match that was filled with controversy. Rovers manager Darrell Clarke has admitted that the chances of his side booking a place in the top six are now ‘a long shot’.
“It is still a long shot,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.
“We have to win six out of the eight games we have left.
“That is where we are at, but I am very proud of my players for putting us in a situation where we are looking up and not down at this stage of the season.
“We had a setback at Bury on one of those nights when everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
“There were some major decisions that didn’t go our way so we move on quickly to another game on Saturday.
“That is the sole focus because I don’t feel the lads need to respond as it wasn’t a negative performance by any stretch of the imagination.”
Clarke will be without midfielder Stuart Sinclair for the match at the Memorial Stadium after his sending off at Gigg Lane. Ollie Clarke, who returns to the side after a suspension of his own, will probably replace him.
Striker Ellis Harrison is still nursing the injury he picked up at Bolton earlier this month so it looks like he will be unavailable. Peter Hartley is still recovering from an Achilles injury so will not feature.
Chesterfield go into the game struggling to put a run together that would save them from relegation to League Two.
The Spireites replaced Danny Wilson with Gary Caldwell just after the turn of the year but the former Wigan boss has been unable to turn the club in 23rd in the league’s fortunes around.
Chesterfield are winless in three and have just one win in their last 11 games.
But despite them struggling this season, manager Caldwell still believes his side can beat the drop.
“Because of the games that are left,” he told the Derbyshire Times.
“Because of the players and the way they’re working, the morale about the place. “I don’t see people who’ve given up, I don’t see training being lacklustre, low on energy and quality.
“I believe that they believe and as long as they believe and we have points to play for them I think it can happen.”
The reverse fixture of this match at the Proact Stadium ended in a 3-2 Chesterfield win back in November.
The last time Chesterfield visited the Memorial Stadium was in October 2013, where the two teams drew 0-0.
Chesterfield have only ever beaten Rovers away from home once in history, this being a League Cup victory in 1964.