Bristol Rovers v Shrewsbury Town Match Preview
By Simon Gray
Bristol Rovers will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at Coventry last weekend as they entertain Shrewsbury Town at the Memorial Stadium.
Rovers go into the final six matches of the League One season knowing that if they want a play off spot, then they have to win at least five of their matches, and even that may not be enough.
Manager Darrell Clarke recently celebrated three years in charge of the club but has insisted that there is certainly more to do before it reaches the second tier of English football.
“Everything is subject to change, we’ve come a hell of a long way in the three years I’ve been in charge and we’ve had a lot of success,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.
“We want to be a Championship club, but don’t get me wrong we’re still a million miles away from that at the moment. But the infrastructure we are trying to put in place now on and around the pitch will help with that.”
“Come the summer it’s about the future and what we want to do in the future. For a long time it’s been ‘rag-arse Rovers’ hasn’t it? It really has, let’s be honest. What was it? Five promotions since 1883, the determination is we are not happy to be a League One team.”
Clarke will have defensive duo Jake Clarke-Salter and Ryan Sweeney back after the pair returned from international duty unscathed but Johnny Burn may miss the match after picking up an injury in the defeat at the Ricoh Arena.
Shrewsbury head into the match just one place and one point above the League One relegation zone.
Shrews manager Paul Hurst is hoping to emulate what his opposite number has done at Rovers with Shrewsbury.
“You hope so that we can do something similar, yes,” Hurst told the Shropshire Star.
“There’s quite a few of that group that’ve come from the Conference or ones that have played League Two. I’m not saying they’re not good enough players by any stretch, because clearly they are.
“I’m sure Darrell will have his own thoughts about taking them to the next level, nobody’s going to sit there and say ‘we’re alright’ – if you do that you’re in trouble.”
Hurst has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the trip to the Memorial Stadium. Shrewsbury’s only unavailable player is Abu Ogogo, who is likely to miss the rest of the campaign with a knee injury.
Shrewsbury manager Paul Hurst was Grimsby Town boss when Rovers defeated them in the Conference Play Off final in 2015.
The reverse fixture between these sides ended in a 2-0 Shrewsbury win back in December.
Shrewsbury have not beaten Rovers away from home in the league since 1969.