Oldham Athletic v Bristol Rovers Match Preview

By Simon Gray

With the final League One fixtures of 2017 coming up, Oldham Athletic meet Bristol Rovers at Boundary Park with both sides looking to steer clear of the relegation zone.

Rovers head into the game one point and two places above Oldham in the table having drawn their first match in an astonishing 28 league games away at Walsall last time out.

Rovers boss Darrell Clarke said after the match that he had “forgotten what a draw felt like” before going on to say that survival is the main target for the Gas this season.

“Our target is to make sure we remain in League One now,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.

“We’ve had to look at it and scrap it, and try and build with the slow building blocks.”

“We’re under no illusions as to how difficult this league is. I keep banging the same drum, just because we’ve got a support base of the top six doesn’t mean we’re anywhere near a top six League One team.”

One fresh injury worry for Clarke is that Rovers are likely to be without defender Danny Leadbitter, after the defender limped off in the first half of the Boxing Day draw at Walsall with what looked to be a hamstring injury.

Oldham go into the game with a major injury blow of their own, with prolific striker Eoin Doyle missing through illness.

Doyle, who is on loan from Preston, may have played his last game for the Latics as his loan spell is due to end on January 1st and manager Richie Wellens has discussed how big of a miss Doyle will be.

“When you’re missing someone like Eoin Doyle who has scored so many goals, it’s always going to be detrimental to your team,” Wellens told the Oldham Times.

“First and foremost, we want Eoin getting healthy and feeling right.

“He’s got a bad virus and he’s not going to be ready in time for the Bristol Rovers game on Saturday.

“Potentially, maybe, he could have played his last game for Oldham as his loan deal runs out on January 1.”

Oldham’s new signing, Patrick McEleney will not be available for the game due to his two and a half year deal beginning on January 1st.

Stats

The last time the sides faced met was in September where Oldham secured a 3-2 away win.

Rovers have lost just one of their last five visits to Boundary Park.

The match at Boundary Park between these two sides last season ended in a 2-0 Rovers away win.

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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