MATCH PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers v Harrogate Town
Bristol Rovers welcome Harrogate Town this weekend looking to put pressure on the teams above them.
The Gas won 2-1 at Crawley in midweek to go within two points of the play offs and just three points off the automatic promotion spots.
Tuesday’s match was Rovers’ 10th match in the space of a month and it would have been fair to say that the squad may have suffered from a few injuries however Joey Barton has not really been forced to change his lineup that often over the busy period and has spoken of the current injury list and players he has at his disposal.
“We’ve got no fresh ones and I’m hoping to get one or two back into the training group tomorrow that have missed some game time,” Barton told BristolLive.
“There is no fresh injury news off the back of Tuesday night’s game.
“We’ve still got a full complement and the lads got through training fine today.
“We’ll assess a few bodies in the morning and hopefully we’ll have a couple more out on the grass tomorrow and make a plan for Saturday’s game.”
Barton will be without Alfle Kilgour and Josh Grant for the game as they continue to recover from lengthy spells out.
Harrogate go into the game having fallen down the league two table after a strong start to the season.
Town were 3rd when the two sides met at the end of October but are now 14th and barring a disaster or a miracle, do not have anything to play for.
Harrogate have won just one of their last seven matches and assistant manager Paul Thirlwell has started to become more realistic about performances being turned into results.
“We can keep saying that we’ve been unlucky in games, but if people don’t do their jobs properly then you get punished,” Thirlwell told the Harrogate Advertiser.
“It’s not acceptable for anyone to be thinking ‘somebody else will do that’. We need everybody to be prepared to roll up their sleeves and do what is required of them.
“We seem to have to work very hard for our goals or to get in front in games. You can never say that this group of players aren’t hard workers, but we need to be working just as hard at the other end of the pitch to deny the opposition chances to score.
“It’s these switch-off moments in games that have been costing us and as a management team, we continue to drill it into the players that they cannot afford to lose concentration and focus.
Harrogate boss Simon Weaver has no new injury concerns ahead of the match.
Simon Power is available again following his return from injury last weekend while Josh Falkingham and Rory McArdle could feature having taken part in training this week.
Bristol Rovers Predicted XI (4-3-3):
Harrogate Town Predicted XI (3-4-1-2): Oxley (GK), Fallowfield, Page, Smith, Burrell, Falkingham, Pattison, Muldoon, Diamond, Armstrong, Power.
Jack and Simon: The Gas 2-0 Harrogate Town
Max: The Gas 3-0 Harrogate Town
Mets: The Gas 1-0 Harrogate Town