MATCH PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers v Accrington Stanley

GasCast Match Previews by Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers host Accrington this week hoping to bounce back from a defeat to table toppers Hull City last time out.

The Gas were beaten 2-0 by The Tigers at the weekend and fell into the bottom four after results involving teams around them went against them.

Rovers enjoyed a large share of the play against the promotion contenders but were made to pay on the two occasions Hull broke the backline.

Hull took the lead after Mallik Wilks pinched Luke Leahy’s pocket to set up Gavin Whyte, who later doubled the Tigers advantage and boss Joey Barton said that The Gas are paying for each error the make.

It’s got to go into the stand,” Barton told BristolLive.

“We found ourselves a goal down without feeling any pressure.

“The second goal is an encapsulation of the season. Two players, for some bizarre reason, do not communicate and go for one ball, which they had no need to do.

“All of a sudden there’s a gaping hole in our defence and we found ourselves 2-0 down with a mountain to climb.”

“If people keep making mistakes, you have to give the lads who haven’t been starting games the opportunity to show what they can do.

“In the midst of the defeat, we still kept plugging away and trying to get back in the game and kept fighting.

“I thought the subs were superb and really lifted the performance, and if we show that spirit and endeavour it will take us a long way. I know it doesn’t feel like that at this moment. There’s the disappointment of defeat, but you have to take the positives out of that game.

“For me, if we iron out these individual errors, we can cause any team problems. If we don’t, we’re giving ourselves mountains to climb every week.”

Barton will have midfielder Luke McCormick available after serving his one match suspension. McCormick is likely to slot straight back into the side. Josh Grant is expected to miss the game after coming off in the first half against Hull.

Accrington go into the game having endured a tough run of form since the reverse fixture between the two teams.

Since Stanley inflicted a 6-1 thrashing on The Gas, they have won just two of the nine games they have played since but can still finish in the play-off places if they were to finish the season strongly.
The run had been just one win in eight until the weekend’s victory over Rovers’ relegation rivals Swindon and manager John Coleman had his say on his side reaching their primary goal of 50 points.

“I am pleased for the lads, they got the rewards for their efforts,” Coleman told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“They worked hard as we had a lot of lads carrying knocks.

“It was an entertaining game in difficult conditions and both teams played some good football.

“Games hinge on little moments and that spot of brilliance from Toby Savin from the free-kick kept us in the game as that would have made it 2-1 to them.

“I was pleased that both my strikers scored, I was especially happy for Colby as he hasn’t scored for a while and I know it was playing on his mind so it was good to see him on the scoresheet.

“We had chances to kill the game off but then they had a couple of chances as well.

“We just had to start winning again, we have played some good football recently but haven’t got our rewards which was a concern.

“We said in the changing rooms, we have played better and lost and we had to find a way of winning and today we did.

“We have got to the psychological barrier of 50 points and now we have to fight and scrap for everything.”

Coleman has no new injury concerns since the weekend’s win and may opt to play the same starting eleven that beat Swindon last time out. With first choice goalkeeper Nathan Baxter expected to be out of action, Toby Savin should continue his place in goal.

Lineup Predictions:

Bristol Rovers Predicted XI (3-4-3):

Accrington Stanley Predicted XI (4-3-1-2): Savin (GK), Nottingham, Hughes, Burgess, Butcher, Smyth, McConville, Barclay, Bishop, Conneely, Charles.

Score Predictions:

Simon: The Gas 2-1 Accrington Stanley

Max: The Gas 1-1 Accrington Stanley

Mets: The Gas 2-2 Accrington Stanley