Bristol Rovers v Rochdale Match Preview

By Simon Gray

Darrell Clarke’s Bristol Rovers will be looking to continue their impressive run as they entertain Rochdale in the midweek match.

The Gas have only lost once their last eight matches and are now just seven points off the play offs and new Rovers midfielder Kyle Bennett has spoken of his new side’s play off chances.

“Never say never, you know,” Bennett told the Bristol Post.

“I don’t think until it’s mathematically impossible, I don’t think we’ll give up. We showed today, no matter whether it’s 1-0 or 2-0, we can come back into the game and win. At the end of the game we could have scored three or four more.

“At half time the gaffer said it was a sloppy mistake for us, and to start a game like that, but it was there for the taking.

“Quite a lot of times we’ve come from behind to win, we’re very fit, and today was the same.”

Bennett, who joined Rovers from Portsmouth earlier this month, scored in the 2-1 win over Oxford last time out and has spoken about how easily he has settled into the group.

“I’ve joined this group, only been here a week, but there is a great team spirit and camaraderie. I would actually say there is a lot of character and team spirit here.

“After the game, he [Clarke] just said well done. We always said at half time that we could get back into the match, now it’s time to look up and not down.”

Manager Darrell Clarke will be without defender Danny Leadbitter once again, the defender limped off in the 2-1 win at Oxford after just 11 minutes and is expected to miss the remainder of February.

Rochdale go into the game having played just one league match since January 13th due to postponements and FA Cup commitments.

Dale sit 23rd in the League One table and are nine points from safety but do have a host of games in hand on teams that are in and around them.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Dale though; they have just relayed their pitch ahead of an FA Cup Fifth Round match with Premier League Tottenham this weekend.

Rochdale will have that match in the back of their minds when they take the trip down south and some players may be wary of picking up injuries or suspensions.

Scott Wiseman, Alex Dobre and Sam Hart are all back for boss Keith Hill having been cup-tied last time out in the win over Millwall. Defenders Niall Canavan and Keith Keane are still long-term absentees

Stats

The last meeting between the two sides ended in a 1-0 win for Rochdale earlier this season.

Rovers’ striker Ellis Harrison took his goal tally to 11 after scoring the winner over Oxford at the weekend.

Rovers have only beaten Rochdale once in their last eight meetings.

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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