FA Cup First Round Match Preview – Notts County v Bristol Rovers

By Simon Gray

The FA Cup returns this week with Bristol Rovers looking to avoid what would be considered an upset for the third season in a row when they head to Notts County on Friday night.

Rovers were dumped out in Round One in the 2015/16 season when they lost 1-0 at home to minnows Chesham before losing to another non-league side in the form of Barrow in Round Two last season.

Rovers go into the game having stopped a three-match losing run with a 2-0 win over MK Dons last weekend but then a weakened Rovers side were beaten at home in midweek, losing 3-1 to West Ham U23’s in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Rovers will have defender Johnny Burn available after he completed 90 minutes in midweek but defender James Clarke remains a long-term absentee. Winger Billy Bodin is still nursing a hamstring injury and is expected to miss the game.

Rovers manager Darrell Clarke discussed his small squad and how juggling between league and cup competition this season has not been easy.

“I managed to rest a few in midweek,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.

“That was our 21st game, that seems a hell of a lot of games given we’re only just into November.

“I’ve not got a massive first team squad and it was important that I rested a few the other night, so we’re ready to go on Friday.

“Something has got to give, even Premier League managers are moaning and they’ve only played 10 league games.”

Notts County go into the game having lost just one of their last five league games and are sat at the top of League Two. The Magpies were taken to a replay in Round One last year but beat Boreham Wood before losing to Peterborough in a Second Round replay.

Notts may not have reached that far in the competition last year but one County player that did is winger Terry Hawkridge who was part of the Lincoln City side that made it to the Quarter finals before losing to eventual winners Arsenal, the winger has now expressed his desire to emulate that cup run.

“Obviously what we achieved at Lincoln was something incredibly special and we went on a great run which gave us plenty of memories,” he told the Nottingham Post.

“I would love to the same with Notts this season and it would be amazing to see if we could go one better as you always set out to try to go as far as you can.

“But you cannot get too far ahead of yourselves. We’ve got a very tough game on Friday night and they (Bristol Rovers) will want to experience exactly the same.

“We’ve got an excellent home record and nothing to fear, so it should be a good game.”

Notts County go into the game having lost just once out of nine at home in all competitions this season, winning six and drawing twice, with the loss coming in the Checkatrade Trophy game at the hands of Mansfield.


The first and only FA Cup tie between these sides came in 1913 with Rovers winning 2-0; this was the first time the sides met too.

The last time these two sides met ended in a 2-0 Rovers win at Meadow Lane in 2016 with Cristian Montano and Lee Brown grabbing the goals either side of half time.

Rovers have not lost to County in the last six meetings between the two sides, winning five and drawing once.

One Response to “FA Cup First Round Match Preview – Notts County v Bristol Rovers

  • Andy snell
    1 year ago

    This is an away defeat for me — unfortunately

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