MATCH PREVIEW: Scunthorpe United v Bristol Rovers

GasCast Match Previews by Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers travel to second-bottom Scunthorpe United hoping to continue their unbeaten league run.

Rovers go into the rearranged fixture on a three-match unbeaten league run after what manager Joey Barton described as a coming-of-age performance in the 1-1 draw with promotion-chasing Swindon last time out.

“Off the back of a tough week where we’ve been putting a lot of information into the lads because we changed shape and I thought we were superb,” Barton told Bristol Live in his post-match interview.

“I’m really pleased with the performance, coming here against a really good side. Swindon are a really good side, as we know.

“I think we showed the way we want to play. For me, I think we dominated the game.

“We were the team looking likely to score, we restricted them to counter-attacks and there won’t be many teams that come to this stadium here this year, especially with how much quality they’ve got in their team because they have some really talented boys.

“Credit to our lads because I think we showed today we’re coming of age.”

Barton may opt to name the same starting lineup that came away from the County Ground with a point. This would mean striker Ryan Loft would start against the side he left for Rovers three weeks ago. Alfie Kilgour is a doubt for the match after he picked up some swelling in the knee.  

Scunthorpe go into the game having claimed just one win in their last 13, with their only win under new manager Keith Hill coming against fellow strugglers Oldham on Boxing Day.

Since that victory at Boundary Park though, the Iron have lost their following four fixtures with Saturday’s loss at home to Newport coming after winger Myles Hippolyte’s penalty miss.

Former Rochdale boss Hill was proud of the desire shown by his side but admitted that they cannot afford to let opportunities like that slip in their fight for survival.

“The scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story,” Hill told the club’s website.

“We battled well and did everything we possibly could. I thought we defended resolutely in the first half. We gave a sloppy penalty early on which we could have been punished on but they missed it.

“When you go in at half-time you have a real opportunity to re-set. We just weren’t great in possession and we have to be better with the ball.

“The players admit that but I’m not here to beat the players up. We have to build confidence and performances with the players we have available. They deserve a lot of admiration and credit for putting themselves out there.

“It’s difficult, there’s no question about that but I’m pretty optimistic and pleased with certain aspects of the performance. The players themselves know what they need to improve on.

“When you’re losing football matches and are where we are in the league, you’re always getting told what you’re doing wrong. So we’ve got to work on what we’re doing right and try to build off that. Football is a funny game and I believe there was something there for us in the second half and probably we could have come out with something.”

Hill will be without winger Harry Bunn who came off with a calf injury on Saturday.

Lineup Predictions:

Scunthorpe Predicted XI (3-5-2): Watson (GK), Millen, O’Malley, Taft, Onariase, Beestin, Burns, Hippolyte, Rowe, Jarvis, Pugh.

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

Score Predictions:

Mets: Scunthorpe United 0-3 The Gas

Sam: Scunthorpe United 0-2 The Gas

Simon: Scunthorpe United 1-3 The Gas