MATCH PREVIEW: Bradford City v Bristol Rovers

GasCast Match Previews by Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers head to Yorkshire this weekend looking to put together a run of form that will propel them up the League Two table.

The Gas had a resounding 3-0 victory in their last league game against Carlisle United but the result was followed up by a 2-1 defeat at home to Chelsea U21’s in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Most fans, players and staff will not be too bothered by the midweek result in a competition that’s stock has taken a nosedive over the past few seasons but for some Rovers players, it was a chance to get some valuable minutes in the tank.

One of these players was central midfielder, Zain Westbrooke who has not been a part of manager Joey Barton’s plans since the season opener against Mansfield. So much so that the former Coventry man was made available for transfer by Barton.

But Westbrooke, who captained the youthful Rovers side in Wednesday’s defeat, has said he has not given up in the fight to break back into the first team on a regular basis.

“I wouldn’t say my confidence has been dented,” Westbrooke told BristolLive.

“This is football, it’s not always plain-sailing. One minute you’re feeling at the top, the next you’re at the bottom.

“You’ve got to try and keep yourself level because that’s just how the game goes and you’ve got to keep working hard every day because when that chance comes you don’t want to miss it.

“He [Joey Barton] knows what I can do and what I can bring to the team and if I get my opportunity, I have to take it every time which is what the lads who are starting have to do because there’s 25 people all wanting a starting shirt in the team.”

Rovers are beginning to get back to a fully fit squad, with Trevor Clarke, Sam Nicholson and Luke Thomas all returning to the starting lineup against Chelsea. Alfie Kilgour returns from suspension however Mark Hughes and Alex Rodman remain out.

Bradford go into the game hoping to get back to their early season form.

The Bantams won three of their first four league games but have only tasted victory once in their seven league games since.

Derek Adams tasted promotion through the play offs last year with Morecambe only to be tempted away by the lure of Bradford City and has spoken to the press about the upcoming fixture against Rovers.

“Bristol Rovers come in off a great victory last weekend,” Adams told the club’s website.

“They have got one of the best squads in the league, with a vast number of experienced players.

“We have to be on our game to get three points.

“We want to treat every match as a cup final, and I do not see this being any different to any other fixture.”

Bradford have second choice keeper Sam Hornby out with a facial injury, meaning they will be without a keeper on the bench. The Bantams do have Oscar Threlkeld back in contention but Niall Canavan remains out.

Lineup Predictions:

Bradford City Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Richard O’Donnell (GK); Oscar Threlkeld, Yann Songo’o, Paudie O’Connor, Liam Ridehalgh; Elliot Watt, Levi Sutton; Alex Gillead, Callum Cooke, Charles Vernam; Andy Cook.

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

Score Predictions:

Max: Bradford City 2-2 The Gas

Mets: Bradford City 3-1 The Gas

Jack and Simon: Bradford City 2-1 The Gas

Sam: Bradford City 1-1 The Gas