Charlton Athletic v Bristol Rovers Match Preview

By Simon Gray

The start of the new season is finally here and after a hectic summer for both sides, Charlton host Bristol Rovers at the Valley on the opening day.

Rovers head into the match with news both on and off the pitch in recent days with the club introducing the signings of Ryan Sweeney, who returns to the club on loan from Stoke, alongside his teammate in the Midlands, Dominic Telford.

The two new signings go straight into the matchday squad to play Charlton this weekend.

But news also broke this week that the much-anticipated UWE Stadium deal had fallen through with the club prepared to explore other options. The proposed stadium had been in the pipeline for 10 years but has always had obstacles to climb.

However, that is not to say that Rovers will have a new stadium on the horizon someday, but for now, they will be remaining at the Memorial Stadium for the foreseeable future.

On the season ahead, manager Darrell Clarke told the club’s website: “At the end of the day it’s not about the first game of the season, it’s a 46 league campaign season.

“We drew against Grimsby in my first year as a manager here, then we got beat by Northampton at home, 1-0 and a lot was said after the first game then and then last season we got beat by Scunthorpe 3-1 but we’ve had three very successful seasons.”

As said before, Rovers will have both Ryan Sweeney and Dominic Telford available for the match, as well as summer recruits Sam Slocombe, Adam Smith, Tom Broadbent, Marc Bola, Liam Sercombe and Tom Nichols.

Charlton host Rovers at the Valley with new recruits of their own. The Addicks had a poor season last term but strengthened this summer with the signings of Billy Clarke and Mark Marshall from Bradford, Jay Da Silva and Ben Amos on loan, Tariqe Fosu from Reading and most recently manager Karl Robinson raided his former club MK Dons for playmaker Ben Reeves.

Having recruited strongly this summer, manager Karl Robinson spoke to the club’s website concerning this weekend’s fixture.

“I know my starting XI and I will tell the players on Friday morning. I knew it after watching three games of Bristol Rovers’.

“It’s important that we get it right, if we do have an injury within the group then we will keep that internal until the weekend.

“Hopefully the players that come in will perform to the best of their abilities as well.”

Stats

Both matches between the two sides last season ended in Charlton victories, 5-1 at the Memorial Stadium before a 4-1 win at the Valley.

Both sides were beaten on the opening day of the 2016/17 season, Charlton lost 2-0 to Bury whilst Rovers lost 3-1 to Scunthorpe.

Rovers have not beaten Charlton away from home since March 1958.

21, Bristol Rovers fan for as long as i can remember. Highlight has to be to 06/07 Play Off win. Seen Rovers at 43/92 clubs in England and counting.

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