MATCH PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers v Oxford United

GasCast Match Previews by Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers host to Oxford United this week hoping to build on a point and a clean sheet on the road last time out.

The Gas’ 0-0 draw at Fleetwood at the weekend ensured they did not enter the bottom four but only goal difference seperates them and 21st place Northampton.

The 0-0 draw came after Rovers were thrashed 6-1 at Accrington four days prior and manager Paul Tisdale has spoken of the improved performance from the poor showing at the Wham Stadium.

“Yes, it was a really good response and well done them,” Tisdale told the press after the goalless draw.

“I would say there are a number of ways you can respond to a result like that on Tuesday, but what really matters is what you do on Saturday at 3pm.

“However we got to it, we got to a performance today, so really delighted with the way they responded.

“They were tough on the pitch, there was a bit of quality too and we thoroughly deserved a draw if not a bit more.

“Other than that first 10 minutes when we weathered the storm, we were in that game right through to the last and had a chance of winning it.

“Disappointed we haven’t scored, but I’m delighted we got a clean sheet, I’m delighted the players showed a level of toughness they did today.”

Rovers came through the match unscathed in terms of injuries as Tisdale brought in the likes of Jack Baldwin and Ben Liddle, who made his first league start for the Gas to the side and the former Exeter manager may opt to play a similar XI after an impressively gutsy display.

The Gas are without midfielders Abu Ogogo and Josh Barrett for extended periods due to injury. The good news though is that first choice goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola returned to full training this week, but it may take a couple of weeks before Gasheads see him back between the sticks.

Oxford will go into the game looking to bounce back after a defeat halted a nine-match winning streak.

The U’s lost 3-2 at Doncaster on Saturday which saw their rapid rise up the table halted but manager Karl Robinson was impressed by his side and did not believe his side deserved to lose.

“There was some wonderful play in that first half, I thought Brandon and Elliot showed the quality they’re going to bring,” Robinson told the Oxford Mail.

“You’d argue the first 30 minutes was the best we’ve played for a long, long time. For me, it was as solid as you get.

“But that one ball and then letting them come inside and get the shot off, we had three or four of them, we just didn’t pick the right ball.”

“That’s the best defending I’ve seen against us all season. The two centre backs threw their bodies in the way.

“If we’d done that for their third goal, maybe it would have been a different game, but I thought the best team certainly lost.”

Team news for the U’s is that Deadline Day signings Elliot Lee and Brandon Barker are likely to start once again after impressive debuts meaning that both Olamide Shodipo and Mark Sykes may have to once again sit on the bench. Marcus McGuane has not been seen since he was stretchered off the reverse fixture between the sides continues to be sidelined.

Lineup Predictions:

Bristol Rovers Predicted (3-5-2):

Oxford United Predicted (4-3-3): Stevens (GK), Long, Moore, Atkinson, Ruffels, Henry, Rodriguez, Brannagan, Lee, Taylor, Barker.

Score Predictions:

Simon, Mets and Sam: The Gas 1-2 Oxford United

Max: The Gas 0-1 Oxford United