Bristol Rovers v Portsmouth Match Preview

By Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers welcome Portsmouth on New Years Day hoping to start 2018 in style.

Rovers drew for the second game in a row last time out away at Oldham and with the transfer window opening soon, manager Darrell Clarke has spoken of his hopes between now and the Blackpool match on January 13th in terms of bringing players in.

“There is nothing imminent, obviously we’ve got the Portsmouth game,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.

“But there are a lot of phone calls going on behind the scenes and then we’ve got a 12-day break, so it’ll be nice to get two or three in during that window.

“It’s not as easy as it’s made out.”

“Also, in the January window, the prices are very inflated. We’ll see, no doubt we’ll get two or three across the line.”

Rovers will be without Danny Leadbitter once again as the defender recovers from a hamstring injury although James Clarke is nearing a return, it is unlikely that he will be named in the squad.

Portsmouth go into the game on an excellent run, winning six out of their last seven in all competitions with the only loss in that run coming away at second place Shrewsbury.

Pompey beat Northampton 3-1 last time out and assistant manager Joe Gallen has said that confidence in the camp is very high after their recent run and has looked ahead to the game on New Years Day.

“We’ve taken six points from the previous two games, so we’re going into this one with a lot of confidence,” Gallen told the club’s website.

“And so we should because the performance at home to Northampton on Saturday was a very good one.

“We’re going to need to play well and work out what we’ve done so well in recent weeks.

“There were numerous chances created and we were a bit unlucky not to come away with an even bigger victory.

“But going away to Bristol Rovers is always a tough fixture – certainly since I’ve been involved in football.

“They’re a team that can really take you apart, although they’re quite open and have had a few results go the other way as well.”

Team news for Portsmouth is that Gareth Evans and Danny Rose will both miss out after suffering injuries against Northampton.


Rovers have beaten Pompey just three times in their previous 15 meetings.

This will be the 41st meeting between the two sides. Rovers have won 10 times, Portsmouth have won 22 with there being eight draws.

The last time the sides met at the Memorial Stadium ended in a 2-1 Portsmouth win back in 2015, Jayden Stockley scoring the winner for Pompey.

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