Bristol Rovers head to Rochdale this weekend hoping to find some form again.

Rovers are winless in three but will remain confident after their spirited come back last time out, coming back from 2-0 down with 12 minutes to go to draw 2-2 with Portsmouth.

After an unbeaten September, Rovers were on the cusp of an automatic promotion place but one month on after one win in four, they have fallen down to 10th position.

Speaking after Rovers’ dramatic draw with Pompey last weekend, manager Graham Coughlan spoke of the spirit of his players and how tough this last month has been.

“Look, we’ve had a tough week and here we go again,” Coughlan told the Bristol Post

“I thought it was so unjust, 2-0 down, I didn’t think we deserved that, I thought we gave a really good, decent display today, our quality wasn’t there again, we didn’t make our passes, we turned the ball over again too easily.

“Again, it’s across from the right and it’s a free header inside the six-yard box, where have I seen that before, last Saturday.

“It’s something that I need to get a hold of, we’re not stopping crosses and we’re not winning enough crosses in the six-yard box and that annoys me.

“Let me tell you, to come back from 2-0 down with what has happened to us during the week, they could have quite easily folded and I have to say I’m absolutely proud as punch with them.

“I’m glad the month is over because it’s been a really tough month, October, there was lots and lots of decisions which we had to make, it hurt me really badly the other night, let me tell you.”

Rovers were boosted this week with the return of left back Tareiq Holmes-Dennis who made a cameo for the club’s development side this week. The defender had been out since the end of last season but this Saturday’s came at the Crown Oil Arena may come too soon for him to be in the squad.

Coughlan may call on Mark Little and Liam Sercombe from the start this weekend after the pair came on to help the Gas salvage a point last time out but top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris remains sidelined.

Rochdale go into the game also hoping to get back to winning ways.

Dale had won three in a row before last weekend’s drubbing at Oxford.

Those wins had helped Dale climb away from the relegation zone but Brian Barry-Murphy’s side will be looking to bounce back after the 3-0 loss at the Kassam.

Barry-Murphy will be without former Bristol City striker Aaron Wilbraham, who was sent off for a reckless challenge against Oxford and the Dale boss believes that the early sending off was key to the result.

“The circumstances of the day didn’t materialise in the way we had hoped,” Barry-Murphy told the club’s website

“Aaron’s sending off had a huge impact on the way we wanted the game to evolve.

“I haven’t had chance to see it back yet but my initial reaction is that it was never a sending off.

“I have full sympathy for the referee. There is a full sense of panic for officials where, I feel, they judge a player to be out of control and they have to act.

“I fully understand the position he is put in and I have no qualms about the decision.

With Wilbraham out, Barry-Murphy will hope that top scorer Ian Henderson will be fit for the game against the Gas. The forward started on the bench against Oxford after recovering from a hamstring problem.

Predicted Starting XI’s

Rochdale:

Bristol Rovers:


Simon Gray