MATCH PREVIEW: Newport County v Bristol Rovers

GasCast Match Previews by Simon Gray

Bristol Rovers head to South Wales for a huge game in the race for the play offs.

Ninth place Rovers face sixth place Newport knowing that a win could propel them into the top seven for the first time this season.

Rovers continued their march for promotion with a midweek win over 10 man Barrow. The Gas were much the better side on the night but came across a stubborn defence and had to thank Antony Evans for a wonder strike with 10 minutes to go.

After the match, manager Joey Barton praised his side for getting the job done against a team fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table.

“I thought we were probably the better team with 11 without creating a great deal,” Barton told BristolLive.

“I thought we certainly were the best team when they went down to 10 men. We had the lion’s share of possession.

“We had to make a few adjustments because of the state of the game and, obviously, we wanted to get more attacking personnel on there to get somebody on the end of something and get that first goal which we knew was going to be key.”

“I’m really pleased with the control until we scored because then they were playing f-it football, where you’ve got nothing to lose and you chase the game.

“Credit to them, they kept pushing and pushing and James Belshaw’s had to make a couple of decent saves and we’ve had to block a few.

“We’ve had to defend our goal properly to get the maximum points over the line, so I’m really pleased.”

Barton may bring Paul Coutts and Sam Finley back into the side after the pair were rested in midweek. Nick Anderton is a doubt for the game after picking up a couple of knocks in the 1-0 win.

Newport go into the game in contrasting form to Saturday’s opponents.

The Exiles have won just one of their last six games and need to get back on track if they want to finish in the top 7 come the end of the campaign.

During that run though, James Rowberry’s side played top of the table Forest Green twice, second place Northampton, third place Tranmere and seventh place Mansfield.

Newport did manage to get a point against Forest Green in midweek thanks to Finn Azaz’ early goal and manager Rowberry heaped praise on his side for managing come away with a point against a side nailed on for promotion.

“They are 10 points clear and I said it after the first game against them, they are a League One outfit right now with an excellent manager,” Rowberry told the South Wales Argus.

“He is a very good coach who sets them up well but I thought we dealt with them well at times.

“As a performance, I was pleased with that character and resilience because they are an excellent team.”

“I thought that we created some really good chances and in transition we were excellent, we just missed that little bit in the final third.

“I am absolutely delighted with my players’ resilience and character, just with the way that they operate. That was one of my proudest moments, for them to keep going and going.

“Forest Green created some good chances as well and a draw was probably a fair reflection of the game.

Rowberry will be without former Rovers defender James Clarke for the game at Rodney Parade after he was sent off in the draw with Forest Green.

Courtney Baker-Richardson and Josh Pask are also missing through hamstring injuries and defender Priestley

Lineup Predictions:

Newport County Predicted XI (4-1-2-1-2): Townsend (GK), Norman, Dolan, Demetriou, Lewis, Bennett, Cain, Azaz, Cooper, Street, Telford.

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

Score Predictions:

Jack: Newport 1-1 The Gas

Max: Newport 2-2 The Gas

Mets and Simon: Newport 1-2 The Gas