Bristol Rovers welcome west country rivals Plymouth Argyle this weekend looking to build on two wins from two in all competitions.
The Gas beat Wimbledon 4-2 last weekend and followed up the win at Plough Lane with victory at Leyton Orient in the Papa John’s Trophy to progress to Round Three.
Rovers fielded a strong side in the heavily criticised competition and manager Paul Tisdale may have been left to regret his decision after first choice keeper Anssi Jaakkola was substituted at half time in the win.
Jaakkola, who had a lengthy spell on the sidelines last season was replaced by number two Jordi Van Stappershoef but manager Tisdale has put fans at ease by confirming Jaakkola was just suffering from soreness in recent weeks and the change at the break at Orient was ‘half-planned’.
“Good to see Jordi come out for the second half and I was very interested to see how he would do. No problems (on Anssi),” Tisdale told BristolLive.
Tisdale also confirmed that although he was not overly pleased with the performance against 10-man Orient, he was pleased with the result and progression in the competition.
“I wouldn’t say I’m going to go away and make notes on too many beautiful patterns of play, but it was good enough,” Tisdale continued.
“We’ve got two goals. The first goal, I’m delighted with Ali Koiki getting a rebound off the goalkeeper, because that’s a good sign the team is thinking correctly, that they’re counting on those kind of errors.
“A sublime free-kick for Zain Westbrooke and it was a bit harsh for the goalkeeper to have an own goal against him.
“It was a game of two halves, in the second half it was a bit of a toil.
“When a team goes down to 10 men, their inhibitions go and they’ve got nothing to lose and they make certain choices and they play in a certain way perhaps you wouldn’t do with 11.
“I’m philosophical about that. I’d have liked us to have done better with the ball against them.
“When it comes to defending, we had a few minor scares but it wasn’t much.”
Tisdale will have been boosted by the returning Mark Little and Jonah Ayunga, with the pair adding competition at right-back and upfront respectively. The game may come too soon for James Daly though who is still nursing an ankle injury.
Plymouth go into the game in looking for a first league win in six.
Argyle beat Swindon Town 4-2 at the start of November but are winless since, losing their last four in the league and with a combined score of 12-3 with heavy defeats to Fleetwood and Rochdale in recent weeks.
Those heavy defeats were followed by at 2-1 home defeat at the hands of promotion contenders Ipswich Town but manager Ryan Lowe felt that they deserved to win the game.
“Pleased with the performance, obviously disappointed with the result,” Lowe told the club’s website.
“I thought every one of my players, down to a man, was different class.
“The work ethic, the game plan, we executed for 70 minutes. Ultimately the sending off has killed us.
“I’m proud of the boys, they’re going through a little bit of a tough time at the moment, not winning games, I thought the game plan was nearly executed. They’re wounded in there, and rightly so.
“They’ve worked hard. We had a good meeting on Wednesday, we put all the wrongs right, and I think the performance warranted three points. We’ll come out of that stronger. If they perform like that in the majority of the games, they’ll get the points.”
Argyle will be without the suspended Danny Mayor after the midfielder picked up two bookings in the space of 18 minutes in the defeat to Ipswich.
Ben Reeves could replace Mayor in the starting line-up this weekend, with Lowe having a fully fit squad apart from former Rovers left back Gary Sawyer, who remains a long term absentee.
Simon and Mets – The Gas 2-1 Argyle
Max – The Gas 2-0 Argyle
Harley – The Gas 1-1 Argyle
Jack – The Gas 3-1 Argyle
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