MATCH PREVIEW: Sutton United v Bristol Rovers

GasCast Match Previews by Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers head to fourth place Sutton hoping to continue their charge up the League Two table.

Last week’s win over Walsall propelled The Gas into the top half and they now sit seven points behind seventh place Swindon with two games in hand on the Robins.

One casualty from the late win over The Saddlers though was goalkeeper James Belshaw who pulled up with what seemed to be a knee injury in stoppage time.

Belshaw has been ruled out of the trip to Sutton by manager Joey Barton but the boss confirmed that the injury is not too severe.

“Belly’s had a bit of good news in terms of what we thought it could have been,” Barton told BristolLive.

“We had a few scares after we had the scans and being looked at by the specialist but, thankfully, the prognosis seems to be really, really good.

“The weekend’s game is probably going to be too soon for Belly but luckily for us we have a Finnish international in Anssi Jaakkola who’s been chomping at the bit, waiting for an opportunity but such has been Belly’s great form, it’s been tough for him.

“An opportunity has presented itself and we’re lucky in that regard that we have two first-class keeper and a really good young prospect in Jed who was getting much-needed minutes but will have to come back and help the first team.”

Rovers have since recalled Jed Ward from his loan spell at Swindon Supermarine to act as cover for Anssi Jaakkola.

Jaakkola starting in goal would not be the only change from the win over Walsall with Luca Hoole serving a one match ban. Barton does though have Ryan Loft available after a knock.

Barton may look to bring in new signings Jon Nolan and Eliot Anderson into the matchday squad.

Sutton go into the game in good form themselves.

Last year’s National League Champions are unbeaten in six league games and have not lost at home since October and manager Matt Gray has been speaking about club expectations.

“For Sutton United it’s the first time in 123 years to be a Football League club and we want to stay there,” Gray told inews.

“We had such a short turnaround in the off season of only four weeks. We had so much to do on and off the pitch with laying the new pitch, [improving] floodlights, turnstiles and stands and finding a new training ground as well as moving everyone from three-quarter time contracts onto full professional contracts.

“It was extremely tough to do all of that in a short of space of time. It’s still not a finished article behind the scenes at all and we’re still working extremely hard day by day to get it as we want it as an established football league club.

“I wanted to keep 18 players from last year’s squad and we managed to do that. We had to make our squad a little bit better and recruited six and kept the hardcore 18 and I think that’s been the main catalyst for why we’ve managed to kick on.”

Gray has no new injury concerns and may play the same side that beat Carlisle last weekend.

Lineup Predictions:

Sutton Predicted XI (4-4-2): Bouzanis (GK), Kizzi, Goodliffe, John, Milsom, Ajiboye, Smith, Eastmond, Boldewijn, Bennett, Olaofe.

Bristol Rovers Predicted XI (4-2-3-1):

Score Predictions:

Jack: Sutton United 0-1 The Gas

Max: Sutton United 2-1 The Gas

Mets: Sutton United 1-0 The Gas

Sam and Simon: Sutton United 1-1 The Gas