Bristol Rovers host Charlton Athletic this weekend looking to bounce back from exits in two cup competitions.
The Gas were defeated by Premier League Sheffield United in the FA Cup before bowing out of the Papa John’s Trophy to AFC Wimbledon in midweek.
Manager Paul Tisdale fielded a much-changed side for the Wimbledon game, utilising the chance to get some players on the fringes of the starting XI some much needed minutes.
Tisdale handed starts to once long-term absentees Mark Little and Alex Rodman as well as two players that were unwanted by previous boss Ben Garner in Abu Ogogo and Josh Barrett.
Ogogo returned to the side after spending the last few months on loan at National League side Dagenhem and Redbridge and Tisdale has spoken of reintegrating the midfielder into the matchday squad.
“I immediately knew of Abu’s loan deal at a Dagenham,” Tisdale told BristolLive.
“I look at the squad and we’re playing a three in midfield. I’m aware of our need to be dynamic in that area of the field under the way I play.
“Abu’s an experienced midfield player who is certainly competent in those areas and I thought it would be a sensible thing to do.
“I’ve been checking that he’s playing regularly, which he has been, so he’s certainly got matches in his legs and there are no question marks over fitness.
“It was an obvious thing for me to do. I’ve known Abu as a player for a long time and we need strength in depth in all areas.
“He’s a very selectable player and he’ll be returning, and I didn’t even question whether they wanted to keep him, I just made the decision that when his loan deal expired I will bring him back and that is exactly what I’ve done.”
Rovers will be without Anssi Jaakkola for the game as Paul Tisdale revelaed the Finland international could be out for a couple of months. New signing Joe Day is expected to make his league debut. James Daly and Tom Davies are both out of contention through injury. They join Erhun Oztumer out of contention for the match as the creative midfielder is unable to play against his parent club.
Charlton go into the game having had a crazy midweek match with Rochdale.
The Addicks were both 3-1 and 4-2 down at The Valley but showed spirit in the second half to come back and draw 4-4.
Two goals from Chuks Aneke and a first Charlton goal for Ronnie Schwartz ensured the would take something away from a game that ran away from them at times and manager Lee Bowyer praised his side’s character after the match, although he was left disappointed with the draw.
“I’m disappointed because we’re playing at home against a team in the lower half. It’s a game we expected to win so I’m disappointed,” Bowyer told the club’s website.
“We have to look at the positives though. We showed character and fight. We could’ve easily crumbled and gone the other way, but we didn’t.
“We should’ve won it but their keeper made a great save. Everything they hit in the first half went in. I think they had four shots and every one went in so it was one of those nights.”
Bowyer will be without defender Jason Pearce who was sent off in the draw with Dale and the game with The Gas may come too soon for a starting birth for striker Schwartz. Veteran duo Ben Watson and Darren Pratley are also absent. Watson has a hamstring injury whilst Pratley is serving his final match of a three-game suspension.
With Pratley and Pearce suspended it does leave the Addicks a little light at centre back, with Deji Oshilaja the only fit senior option at Bowyer’s disposal meaning he may opt to either play a back three or draft in a full back to play at the heart of the defence.
Charlton have plenty of depth in attack though, with Omar Bogle and Marcus Maddison both possible options going forward although Maddison did pick up an injury in the defeat to Accrington last week so may not be risked.
Simon and Jack: The Gas 2-2 Charlton
Max and Mets: The Gas 1-2 Charlton