MATCH PREVIEW: Crewe Alexandra v Bristol Rovers

GasCast Match Previews by Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers head to Crewe this week beginning a run of eight midweek matches in a row.

Due to various reasons, including outbreaks throughout the EFL, Rovers have had four matches rescheduled which has left their opening months of 2021 rather congested.

Between the weekend’s defeat with Charlton and the game with AFC Wimbledon on the 13th March eight weeks away, The Gas play 17 times and after the defeat to the Addicks, manager Paul Tisdale spoke of the need to add to his side at the top end of the pitch.

“Everybody needs a forward option, a process, a route to goal, something they can rely on and understand,” Tisdale told BristolLive.

“We need to improve that, regardless of new signings or the players we have to improve on that or we have to be consistent with it, because at times we’ve been really good.

“We weren’t today. We tried very hard, it was a bit disconnected, but these things can turn around very quickly and I’m not going to be too depressed with one defeat.

“We’ve been pretty good in the past four or five games, so we dust ourselves off and move to the next game.”

Tisdale will be without Sam Nicholson for a few weeks as the forward continues his recovery from a hip injury however the former Exeter boss will have Erhun Oztumer and Max Ehmer back who missed the loss at the weekend. Oztumer was unable to play against his parent club whilst captain Ehmer was suspended after picking up five yellow cards.

Crewe go into the game having had a steady start to life back in the third tier.

The Alex are 10th in League One and just four points off the play offs after finishing second in League Two last year and have been applauded by many for their youthful side and exuberant style of play. This has seen interest from the higher divisions in quite a few of their players including full backs Perry Ng and Harry Pickering.

Blackburn have seen a bid rejected for Pickering whilst fellow Championship side Cardiff City have had enquiries for Ng. Crewe captain Ng missed the weekend’s match with Plymouth Argyle and manager David Artell has spoken of why the right back was not included in the matchday squad.

“We are closer to finalising a deal for Perry and that should be concluded early next week,” Artell told the club’s website.

“When it came to him playing, I spoke to him in the hotel last night and then again this morning.

“He slept on the decision and there was no pressure from me or the club for him to play or not play. It was all amicable and sensible.

“All we can do is see what happens over the weekend and then into early next week.”

Ng is not expected to play for Crewe again with confirmation by Artell of an improved bid being accepted. Pickering is still expected to be in the side though, with Luke Offord to continue to deputise for Ng. Boss Artell has no new injury concerns and could make very few changes from the side that drew with Plymouth at the weekend.

Lineup Predictions:

Crewe Predicted XI: (4-3-3) Jaaskeleinen (GK), Offord, Lancashire, Beckles, Pickering, Murphy, Finney, Wintle, Dale, Mandron, Kirk.

Score Predictions:

Max – Crewe Alexandra 2-0 The Gas

Mets – Crewe Alexandra 1-3 The Gas

Simon & Jack – Crewe Alexandra 0-0 The Gas