MATCH PREVIEW: Accrington Stanley v Bristol Rovers

GasCast Match Previews by Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers head to Lancashire to play Accrington Stanley this weekend full of confidence following their third win in four last time out.

After a slow start, Rovers have beaten Northampton, Lincoln and most recently Shrewsbury to rise up the league table, now occupying 10th place.

Gasheads will also be in good spirit ahead of the match after the club confirmed the much-anticipated signing of defender Ali Koiki from Burnley, with the fee being subject to an independent tribunal.

Koiki had been on Rovers’ wishlist over the past couple of weeks but a few complications caused the deal to not be completed before the transfer deadline last week. However, Koiki was classed as a free agent, meaning the deal could be finalised after deadline day and manager Ben Garner was pleased to see Rovers get their man.

“Ali is a player that we have tracked for a long time and he has the attributes that suit our style of play,” Garner told the club website.

“From my conversations with him it was clear that he has the right attitude and determination to be a success here.

“Ali is a quick and powerful player who is defensively strong but who also provides a strong attacking threat.

“He will have the opportunity here to grow as both a player and a person in order to achieve his full potential.”

There’s no further injury news from The Gas, with Alex Rodman and Josh Barrett continuing their rehabilitation from their respective injuries and Garner will more than likely field an unchanged team for the fifth game in a row.

Accrington go into the game having had a strong start to the season of their own, occupying seventh place with 12 points.

Ahead of the visit of Rovers to the Wham Stadium, John Coleman’s side have only lost one of their four matches at home this season, beating promotion hopefuls Peterborough and Fleetwood as well as rivals Rochdale.

The most recent win came on Tuesday night over Fleetwood with Colby Bishop scoring the winner, however the story of the night was the comeback of winger Sean McConville who returned to help Stanley clinch victory after 10 months out through injury.

McConville sustained an Achilles injury on New Year’s Day and has spent the whole of 2020 fighting back and his second half appearance came at somewhat of a surprise to him.

“It was a surreal moment to be honest,” McConville told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“I didn’t expect to be coming on at half-time, the plan was to ease me back in with 20 minutes. But fair play to Fleetwood, they were on top in the first half and the manager felt like he needed to change it.

“I was a bit surprised when he told me to get warmed up but it is what it is. I’ve been around the game a long time and there’s no easing back in at this level. It’s straight back in at the deep end against a good team.

“To come on and get the win makes that 10 months of torture, hard work (worth it). Every negative emotion that you can go through I probably went through.

“It was horrible. It was torture. I’ve never suffered a long-term injury and it was emotional.”

McConville will be hoping that his performance in the second half showed his manager that he’s ready for a starting place but with no new injury concerns, Coleman may opt to also field and unchanged side.

Lineup Predictions

Score Predictions:

Max – Accrington 1-1 The Gas

Simon and Mets – Accrington 0-1 The Gas

Harley – Accrington 0-2 The Gas