Bradford City v Bristol Rovers Match Preview

By Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers look to continue their recent winning run this weekend when they travel to Bradford City to play in front of the Sky TV cameras.

Rovers go into the game having now won their last four games, two in the league and two in cup competitions.

With the transfer window slamming shut on Thursday evening, Rovers were unable to secure any last minute deals but were able to keep hold of in form Billy Bodin despite interest from the Championship.

But Bodin is not the only Rovers man gaining praise for early season form, defenders Tom Lockyer and on loan defender Ryan Sweeney have both received international call-ups for their fine form. The bad news for Rovers fans though, is that they will both miss the trip up to Yorkshire.

Midfielder Ollie Clarke, who recently captained the side away at Wycombe in the Checkatrade Trophy looks set to keep the armband in Lockyer’s absence and spoke of his delight to captain his boyhood club.

“It was a good feeling and it was a great night to lead the lads out,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.

“I had a few texts off family and friends saying it’s good to see you get the armband. It probably won’t last long because Locks is away at the moment.”

On the current squad, Clarke said: “It’s easily the best squad we’ve had since I’ve been here.”There’s more competition for places.

“There’s more competition for places. Lads that aren’t playing could step in and be as good as those who are playing regularly.

“It was a bit stagnant when I was first here. There were some good individual players but they would come in, train and go home. They wouldn’t really bond whereas now we’ve got everyone fighting for each other and fighting for a place in the team.”

As said before, Rovers will be without Tom Lockyer and Ryan Sweeney for the trip. Stuart Sinclair is a doubt for the match after limping off in the win over Fleetwood with a groin injury.

Bradford go into the game having been on the wrong end of an incredible comeback in their last League One match.

The Bantams were 3-0 up away at Walsall before a superb second half comeback from the Saddlers meant the points were shared.

That draw meant that Bradford are in ninth place after four games and manager Stuart McCall insists that this weekend’s match will be another tough one.

“We’re under no illusions, they’re a good attacking side and they’re playing well at the minute,” McCall said during his pre match press conference.

“I’ve got a lot of time for Darrell and he’s built a good squad. I expect them to be pushing for top six.”

Bradford head into the game without striker Shay McCartan who received an international call up from Northern Ireland. Rouven Sattelmaier and Tim Dieng will miss the game through injury but Adam Chicksen is back in contention along with new signings Adam Thompson and Lukas Raeder.

Stats

Rovers’ last win away at Bradford came in October 1995.

The fixture earlier this year ended in a 1-1 draw between these two sides with Chris Lines scoring early on for Rovers before Nicky Law equalised for Bradford.

The last time these two sides met at Valley Parade it also ended 1-1 last season.

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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