Bristol Rovers v Doncaster Rovers Match Preview

By Simon Gray

It’s a battle of two Rovers’ this weekend as Bristol Rovers and Doncaster Rovers lock horns for the first time in nine years.

Bristol Rovers go into the game above Doncaster in the league table by three points heading into the festive period and manager Darrell Clarke has spoken about how they will manage four games in eight days.

“You can have a picture in your mind but obviously injuries and illness come into play, we have got a bit of illness around the camp so we will see and we will access,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.

“I have got to pick a team to win Saturday’s game first of all with Doncaster coming to town.”

“Like any team in this division if we are not at the races we will get beat, if we are at it we will win. It is as simple as that. I think you can see that now.

“We are halfway through the season after Saturday, we have won nine games, we can get to double figures on Saturday.

“Our home form has been pretty strong for a long per time but we have still got to go out and win the game and Doncaster, like any team in this division, will come and fancy their chances so we have to be at our best.

Team news for Rovers is that Clarke could call back Chris Lines for the match after the midfielder missed last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at Gillingham through illness.

Doncaster go into the game having won just one of their last six league games and manager Darren Ferguson, son of former Manchester United manager, Sir Alex, has been speaking about how his side cannot get drawn into a physical battle at the Memorial Stadium.

“They got heavily beaten on Saturday but in the two previous home games they beat Rotherham and comfortably beat Southend,” Ferguson told the Sheffield Star.

“They’re a big team, physical, they go back to front very quickly so we’ll have to match all that, physicality, set pieces are a real threat. Long throw. We’ll have to manage all that and the pitch, it’s heavy, it’s dead.”

“The last two home games they’ve done well, they’ve been very aggressive, up and at you and in your face. So that’s the game I’m expecting.

“We’ll need to be a lot better on the ball because I don’t want it turning into that sort of game”.

Midfielder James Coppinger is likely to return from a groin problem after missing last week’s draw against Oldham. Midfielder Matty Blair may return despite being missing since December 3rd and defender Craig Alcock also could return despite having not played since the end of November.

Stats

Doncaster have beaten Bristol Rovers in each of their last five previous meetings.

Bristol Rovers and Doncaster met in the 2007 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final, Doncaster won the match 3-2 after extra time.

The last meeting at the Memorial Stadium came in March 2008 where an early Paul Heffernan goal meant that Doncaster won the match 1-0.

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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