MATCH PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers v Newport County

GasCast Match Previews by Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers welcome Newport County to the Memorial Stadium this weekend in the hope of maintaining their unbeaten run.

Rovers were pegged back late on in midweek at Colchester which meant that they have come away with two points from their two consecutive away games and manager Joey Barton said after the 1-1 draw on Tuesday that his side are still some way off what he expects of them.

“We’re still some way short,” Barton told BristolLive.

“I think today you’ve seen a little bit of a flavour of a Luke Thomas and Sam Nicholson combination, two really good players, players that we’ve got to get up to full fitness and certainly those minutes on the clock today will bring those boys on.

“The team now for me is starting to emerge. You can see the way we want to play. Tonight in a short turnaround we carried on from a very productive end to the Bradford game. We carried on trying to play on the front foot and that width in the play.

“I thought there were some really good moments, we’ve just got to be more clinical, show a little bit more discipline to take those decisions out of the referee’s hands and also put the game to bed, get that second, third and fourth goal.”

Barton may be able to recall Sam Finley and Josh Grant from their respective time in the physio room but Anssi Jaakkola and Alex Rodman remain long term absentees.

Rovers have lost coach Kevin Maher to Southend this week, Maher has taken up the head coach role there.

Newport go into the game with a new manager at the helm.

Mike Flynn left the exiles earlier this month by mutual agreement and this week they appointed his successor. Former Cardiff City James Rowberry, a one time favourite for the Rovers job has been named their new manager and getting the job, Rowberry said that it was a dream come true.

“I couldn’t resist the chance to come here,” Rowberry told BBC Sport Wales.

“It gives me goosebumps thinking about it, I am so excited to be manager of the football club,” he said.

“In lots of ways it is a dream come true to start my managerial career at a club that I have lots of connections to.

“I always think that if the football club is doing well then the city thrives. I’ve got a responsibility to push that forward with the staff around me.”

Both sides ended their midweek matches with nine men due to ill-discipline. Rovers had both Cian Harries and Trevor Clarke dismissed whilst Newport had Ryan Haynes and former Rovers man Ed Upson see red. All four players will be out of the weekend fixture.

Even with Upson out, Rowberry does have some more ex-Rovers players to call on. Defender James Clarke, a cult hero at Rovers returns to face the club in a league game for the first time since his departure and strikers Timmy Abraham and Dominic Telford spent time on loan at the Memorial Stadium as well as goalkeeper Joe Day.

Lineup Predictions:

Bristol Rovers Predicted XI (4-4-2):

Newport County Predicted XI (3-4-1-2): Joe Day (GK); James Clarke, Matt Dolan, Mickey Demetriou, Cameron Norman, Robbie Willmott, Christopher Missolou, Lewis Collins; Oliver Cooper; Courtney Baker-Richardson , Dom Telford.

Score Predictions:

Mets, Max, Sam and Simon: The Gas 2-1 Newport County