Northampton Town v Bristol Rovers Match Preview

By Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers head to Northampton this weekend without centre-back pairing Tom Lockyer and Ryan Sweeney.

Lockyer is away with the Wales international side and Sweeney is with the Republic of Ireland U21’s.

Rovers sit 14th in League One after an inconsistent start, having won five and lost six of their opening 11 matches.

Manager Darrell Clarke has spoken of his side’s start to the season and has delivered a clear target of what he wants from the next 11 games.

“We’re one point behind our total last year after the first 11 games,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.

“In the second quarter last season we got 14 points, so our target is to get as many points as we possibly can and beat that 14 points.

“We’ll work in blocks and obviously we’d like to pick up a couple of away wins along the way.”

As well as being without Lockyer and Sweeney, Rovers are without James Clarke who is still on the treatment table but Stuart Sinclair is in contention for a starting place after appearing on the subs bench in last week’s win over Plymouth.

New Northampton manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been in charge for over a month now and is starting to settle in but the Cobblers still sit 22nd in League One.

Hasselbaink has spoken of his happiness to be back at Sixfields this weekend after playing just once at home since September 12th.

“The free week is very pleasing, and we have two home games and it is nice to play in front of your own fans again,” Hasselbaink told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

“We are playing against a good team, that has some really good passers in the middle of the park, and some energy up front.

“Out wide they have players who really ask the full-backs questions, so it is a good game for us.

“We will have to make sure that we are right, and make sure that we can attack them and be positive and try to really be disciplined and go for some good football, and hopefully the result will come with that.”

Team news for Northampton is that Regan Poole misses out due to being on international duty with Wales Under-21s, whilst Matt Crooks, Leon Barnett, Chris Long, Sam Hoskins, John-Joe O’Toole, and Aaron Phillips are all out injured.

Stats

The last time the two sides met at Sixfields came last season where a late Charlie Colkett goal secured a 3-2 away win for Rovers.

Both Northampton and Rovers were involved in the League Two relegation battle of 2013 but have both since been promoted to League One.

Northampton midfielder John-Joe O’Toole joined from The Pirates whilst Rovers midfielder Billy Bodin played for Northampton before joining Rovers.

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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