Bristol Rovers v Portsmouth Match Preview

By Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers welcome Portsmouth in the midweek match hoping to end Pompey’s 100% winning start to the league season.

Portsmouth are three wins from three in the league this season following the weekend’s 4-1 win over Oxford but manager Kenny Jackett has warned against complacency ahead of Tuesday’s game.

“Football is about looking forward – and we have to focus on facing Bristol Rovers and Doncaster pretty quickly,” Jackett told the club’s website.

“If we get too pleased or start patting ourselves on the back then we can get undone, so we brought the players in on Sunday morning.

“We wanted them to look ahead to what is a big week and a hard one. They should take confidence from Saturday, but also learn what they can do better.

“This division is different to last season and I think it could be quite tight, with a number of sides ambitious to do well.

“There were times last term when we lost a lot of players, although you never like to use that as an excuse.

“But there’s no doubt we were short in certain areas and it’s something we’ve tried to address this time.”

Pompey will be without Dion Donohue for the match but Nathan Thompson may return from his spell on the sidelines. Former Rovers defender Lee Brown will be returning to the Mem for the first time since his move to the south coast.

Rovers go into the game having received their first three points of the season last time out up against Wycombe Wanderers.

James Clarke’s first senior goal and Tony Craig’s header sealed a 2-1 win for the Gas at Adams Park.

With Tuesday’s match against on of the early pacesetters, Rovers manager Darrell Clarke has spoken of his admiration of Portsmouth and Kenny Jackett.

“They have that momentum and confidence after a couple of wins. The Pompey fans are a great bunch as well so it’ll be a good atmosphere and occasion on the night so hopefully we can pick up the three points,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Kenny Jackett, he is a top, top manager at this level and he’s proven it over the years.

“He knows how to get out of the league and he’s done a top job. I don’t think they are one of the big-hitters in the league but they have a healthy budget but he also brings some young lads through and he’s made some shrewd signings.

“They have good players throughout the side. I can go through the squad and they have good players throughout but so have I. I am sure they will be looking at us with respect as well.

“For us, it’s a real good game at the Mem and I think our fans will be up for it. Hopefully, it will be a fantastic atmosphere with a good load of fans in the ground.”

It’s the same team news for Rovers as it was at Wycombe, no new injury concerns but Clarke may rotate having left both Chris Lines and Kyle Bennett on the bench in the win at Wycombe.

Bristol Rovers INS: Theo Widdrington (Portsmouth FC), Gavin Reilly (St. Mirren), Sam Matthews (Bournemouth U21), Ed Upson (MK Dons), Alex Rodman (Shrewsbury Town), Tareiq Holmes-Dennis (Huddersfield Town), Stefan Payne (Shrewsbury Town), Alex Jakubiak (Watford).


Ellis Harrison (Ipswich Town), Ryan Broom (Cheltenham Town), Lee Brown (Portsmouth) Byron Moore (Bury), Rory Gaffney (Salford City), Kenan Dünnwald-Turan (Released), Jonathan Burn (Darlington)

Portsmouth INS: Lee Brown (Bristol Rovers), Craig MacGillivray (Shrewsbury Town), Louis Dennis (Bromley), Tom Naylor (Burton Albion), Anton Walkes (Tottenham U23), Ronan Curtis (Derry City), David Wheeler (QPR).


Kal Naismith (Wigan Athletic), Theo Widdrington (Bristol Rovers), Nicke Kabamba (Havant & Waterlooville FC), Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain (Notts County).


Portsmouth defender Lee Brown made over 270 league appearances for Rovers, scoring 21 goals, including the stoppage-time winner over Dagenham and Redbridge on the final day of the 2015/16 season to send the Gas up to League One.

Rovers winger Kyle Bennett made 99 appearances for Pompey, scoring 13 goals before his move to Rovers in January.

The last meeting between these two sides ended in a 2-1 win for Rovers, Stuart Sinclair and Liam Sercombe scored the goals that day.

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