MATCH PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers v Fleetwood Town

Bristol Rovers host Fleetwood Town this weekend with manager Ben Garner returning from a period of extended leave.

Garner has been absent since the home defeat to Doncaster tending to a family matter but has thanked fans upon his return.

“I would like to thank everyone for the messages of support both myself and my family have received during what has been a difficult time,” Garner told the club’s website.

“As a family, we very much appreciate that our privacy was respected & would be thankful for this continuing to be the case moving forward.

“My thanks goes to the owners, the players, the staff, & the entire Gas family for their support and understanding.

“Fortunately I have been able to return to work today and our full focus is now on the match against Fleetwood on Saturday.”

Rovers go into the game with an unwanted stat to their name, being the only side in the top four divisions yet to score a league goal.

Team news for Rovers is that Garner can call on defenders Mark Little, Tom Davies and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, as well as Sam Matthews who all came through the Central League draw with Forest Green unscathed. Josh Hare remains a long term absentee.

Garner can also look to new signing Jamal Blackman after the goalkeeper signed on loan from Chelsea until the end of the season.

Fleetwood go into the game in a rough patch of their own.

The Cod Army have not won in six matches in all competitions and manager Joey Barton has admitted they will have to be at their best going forward to get passed the Rovers backline.

“Bristol are a good side,” Barton told the club’s website.

 “They defend the goal fantastically well and it’s a really tough place to go. They’ve got a good crowd at Bristol so whether they’re on a good run or a bad run, it’s a tough place to go.

“It would’ve been an even harder place to go earlier on in the season, now they sit at the bottom of the form table and we need to be at our best because that’s League One. We need to turn up and be at our best if we do deliver our best, there are not many teams in the league that can match us.

“They’ve been successful playing a 3-5-2, but now the new manager has come in and now they try to pass the ball a bit more. It’s a good pitch at Bristol so they’re able to play a bit more”.

Fleetwood have a full set of players to choose from and Barton may play the same system that faced Rovers in the 0-0 draw last month.

Bristol Rovers Predicted X
Fleetwood Town Predicted XI