Bristol Rovers welcome Gillingham this week in a buoyant mood after a thoroughly professional performance in the FA Cup at the weekend.
The Gas thumped National League North side Darlington 6-0 on Sunday to set up at January Third Round tie at home to Sheffield United.
That win over the Quakers signalled manager Paul Tisdale’s first win since taking over from Ben Garner just under two weeks ago, with a loss to Swindon followed up by a 0-0 draw with Wigan in their last league game.
Rovers joint top scorer Brandon Hanlan missed the draw with the Latics and was an unused substitute in the weekend win over Darlo but the former Gillingham forward is back in contention, with Tisdale all but confirming he will be starting against his former club.
“Brandon was there on Sunday and I didn’t use him so unless something happens between now and Wednesday I’m sure he’ll be back into the mix,” Tisdale told BristolLive.
“I think Wednesday is going to be very different from Sunday, a different style of intensity and tempo to the game so there’ll be different talking points from me going into the build-up.
“But essentially, the players can figure out as much as I can, there’ll be 8-10 players who’ll be straight in again on Wednesday.
“The benefit of this situation is that there are so many games taking place so quickly.
“I’m learning and getting a picture of how we’re going to play and they’re learning about me and what I’m asking of them.”
Hanlan may be Rovers’ only option up front after James Daly limped off with ten minutes to go at the weekend. Daly joins Jonah Ayunga on the injury list which means Hanlan is Rovers’ only fit striker going into the game.
Both Alex Rodman and Tom Davies are back in training although it is too early for either to feature.
Gillingham go into the game having been beaten by League Two Exeter City to miss out on a Third Round tie at home to Sheffield Wednesday.
The Gills lost 3-1 at home to the Grecians but have had a reasonable opening two months to the league season, sitting 13th after as many games.
Speaking ahead of the game, manager Steve Evans told KentOnline of his relationship with Rovers boss Tisdale and how he congratulated him on the role once he took it.
“Paul Tisdale is a man I know very well and have a super relationship with.
“We have the greatest respect for each other and it will be an interesting game.
“We exchanged messages soon after he was appointed and that manager change alone will make our challenge on Wednesday much more difficult as he will have them very organised and efficient.”
Gills striker Dominic Samuel spoke of his desire to respond to the cup defeat to Exeter with a strong performance at the Memorial Stadium.
“We can’t keep dwelling on the past,” Samuel told the club’s website.
“We have got good enough players to turn things around. We need to start again on Monday at training and go into the game on Wednesday fresh.
“Bristol Rovers have a few decent players but we need to do what we are good at and focus on ourselves.
“Everyone wants to get to the play-offs. Everyone knows we are a good enough team. There are still a lot of games to be played.”
Evans has no new injury concerns ahead of the match, although Tom O’Connor is unlikely to feature due to a hamstring strain.
Max – The Gas 2-1 Gillingham
Mets – The Gas 1-1 Gillingham
Simon – The Gas 0-2 Gillingham
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