MATCH PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers v Mansfield Town

GasCast Match Previews by Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers welcome Mansfield Town looking to bounce back from their surprise midweek defeat.

Rovers were lacklustre against relegation threatened Oldham with the Latics coming out 2-1 winners and Rovers boss Joey Barton was critical of his players after the match.

“Yeah. Strange performance from the lads today,” Barton told BristolLive after the loss to Oldham.

“No indication of that in recent weeks, they’ve been superb but we’re really disappointed. We’re disappointed across the board.

“People have been given opportunities with a few changes tonight. As a manager, you make changes and sometimes you’re a genius and sometimes you’re not. Tonight is one of those days for me. We’ve got to be better.”

Anthony Evans and Connor Taylor are doubts for the match this weekend. Evans came off early on Tuesday with a tight hamstring whereas Taylor missed the match with a heart complaint.

Barton may have James Belshaw and Jon Nolan available for the game as they continue their rehabilitation from their respective time out through injury. Ryan Loft and Leon Clarke remain out.

The Gas will need to respond quickly if they are to beat one of the in form teams in the division.

Mansfield are unbeaten in 10 in the league and after a poor start to the campaign, the Stags have found themselves in the hunt for automatic promotion, sitting fifth in the League Two table and just three points off the top three with a game in hand.

The Stags ran out 2-1 winners over Colchester in midweek which saw manager Nigel Clough praise his front three of Lucas Akins, Jamie Murphy and Rhys Oates.

“I thought the front three of Jamie Murphy, Lucas [Akins] and Rhys Oates were outstanding, and they ran them [Colchester] ragged,” Clough told the club’s website.

“You’re not going to [be able to] do it for 97, 100 minutes but for the vast majority of the game we did more than enough to score more than the two goals.”

“I thought the three points were brilliant as always. It [score line] shouldn’t have been as close in the end. In the first-half I thought we were outstanding and the only thing missing was another goal or two.

“We could’ve easily had another two or three in the first-half, the quality of our play deserved that.

“The back four and Nathan Bishop deserved a clean sheet.”

Clough has no new injury concerns and may look to bring in deadline day signing Matty Longstaff for his debut.

Lineup Predictions:

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

Mansfield Town Predicted XI (4-1-2-1-2): Bishop (GK), McLaughlin, Hewitt, O’Toole, Hawkins, Maris, Quinn, Oates, Stirk, Akins, Murphy.

Score Predictions:

Max and Mets: The Gas 1-3 Mansfield Town

Simon: The Gas 1-2 Mansfield Town

Sam: The Gas 2-2 Mansfield Town