Bristol Rovers vs Oxford United Match Preview  

By Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers head into Saturday’s game with Oxford suffering from a bit of déjà vu.

Last weekend saw Rovers suffer a last minute defeat at the hands of Burton Albion, which is just what happened the week before against Walsall.

That defeat against the Brewers last weekend left Rovers in the relegation zone and with games against fellow strugglers Oxford and Wimbledon this week, manager Darrell Clarke has admitted he has been trying to get the balance right in order to win matches of late.

“It maybe isn’t the biggest week of the season because we have still got 33 games to play, that is 99 points still to play for,” Clarke told the Bristol Post.

“But yes we need to improve and improve quickly, and certainly it is a big week with two home games on the spin.

“It is obviously difficult when you have lost the last couple of games in injury time.

“It is about getting the balance right, yes you want to pick the boys up because they are obviously low, because they do care, but I had to pick myself up first and foremost, and then work backwards from that.”

One player who will most likely miss the match is Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, although he is not far from making his first appearance in a Rovers shirt.

Oxford go into the game on the back of a much needed victory over strugglers Plymouth last time out.

The U’s won 2-0 at the Kassam with Jamie Mackie and Curtis Nelson grabbing the goals but manager Karl Robinson has admitted with the club still in the relegation zone, it is not a win that can be celebrated too much.

“I don’t think you celebrate one win,” Robinson told the club’s website.

“It’s OK saying it’s great and we did well, but one win doesn’t change where we are in the league too much. It has to be a series of wins. So we have been very calm about it and nobody is getting too carried away.

“I have always asked to be judged when everyone is fit – I know we have a very good team then. We are slowly getting the players that we want on to the pitch and I think people saw a very good performance last week.”

Jon Obika will miss the game and the rest of the season after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament playing in a behind-closed-doors under-23s match against Swindon Town on Tuesday.


Rovers’ Liam Sercombe spent 2 years at Oxford.

Rovers have won four of the previous five meetings between the sides.

The last time these sides met at the Memorial Stadium ended in a 1-0 Oxford win though.

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