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Bristol Rovers (H) match preview

25 March 2019

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Rovers return home in midweek when they host Bristol Rovers in Sky Bet League One on Tuesday night.

The game provides Rovers with a chance to move back into the top six, with Grant McCann’s men looking to bounce back from Saturday’s 4-0 defeat away at league leaders Luton Town.

Bristol Rovers on the other hand are on a high after an injury-time goal saw them earn a point on the road at Plymouth Argyle, with a 2-2 draw at Home Park at the weekend.

Brief history of Bristol Rovers

Rovers play at the 12,296-capacity Memorial Stadium, which has been their home since 1996. “The Mem” is their eighth home since the club’s formation in 1883, playing at Eastville Stadium for the majority of their existence, whilst also playing at Bath’s Twerton Park ground for 10 seasons prior to their move to their current stadium.

They are nicknamed the Pirates, which reflects the maritime history of Bristol, whilst their fans are coined the Gasheads, which was given to them after their old Eastville Stadium was located next to a gas works.

This is their third consecutive season in League One, following automatic promotion from the fourth tier in 2016. Their promotion from League Two came on the final day of the 2015/16, with Lee Brown scoring in the last minute to send the Pirates up and earn them their second consecutive promotion after their National League play-off final win over Grimsby Town the year before.

Who’s the gaffer?

Irishman Graham Coughlan will be the man in the away dugout when the two sides meet on Tuesday evening, having taken on the job following the departure of Darrell Clarke back in December

Coughlan has overseen 20 games so far during his tenure as Pirates boss, winning nine, drawing seven and losing just four, leaving him with a total win percentage of 45 per cent.

Ones to watch

Jonson Clarke-Harris

The striker joined the Pirates in January from Coventry City and hit the ground running, scoring six times in his first five games. Clarke-Harris began his career with the Sky Blues, coming up through their academy, before a brief stint with Peterborough United. He joined Oldham Athletic in 2013, spending one season with the Latics, scoring seven league goals. He then joined Rotherham United the following year, spending four years in total with the Millers and scoring his first goal for the club in a 2-1 win against Leeds United. He also spent three loan spells away from the club, including time here at the Keepmoat Stadium, scoring once in a 3-1 away win at his former club Coventry City. Clarke-Harris returned to the Ricoh Arena on a permanent deal in 2018, helping them to promotion back to League One via the play-offs. After a year with the Sky Blues, Clarke-Harris headed for Bristol Rovers, and he has been in fine form of late, including a hat-trick for the Pirates in just his fifth game for the club, in a 4-0 win at home to Blackpool.

Tom Lockyer

The Pirates’ skipper is a Welsh international defender, making his senior debut for his country in 2017. Born in Cardiff, Lockyer came up through the youth academy at Bristol Rovers, and he has since gone on to make close to 250 appearances in the blue and white quarters. He was a part of the side that went from the National League to League One with back-to-back promotions, winning the National League play-offs before finishing third in League Two in 2016. Lockyer made seven appearances for the Welsh under-21 squad, before first being called up to the senior side in June 2017, being an unused substitute in a game against Serbia. He made his debut just a couple months later, coming on as a half-time substitute in a 1-1 draw with Panama in a friendly in November of the same year.

Ed Upson

The former England youth international joined the Pirates from Milton Keynes back in the summer. After coming up through the ranks with Ipswich Town, Upson also spent time on loan at Stevenage and Barnet going to make a permanent move to Yeovil Town in 2010. He spent four years with the Glovers, helping them to promotion from League One alongside Rovers in 2013, as Yeovil beat Brentford 2-1 at Wembley Stadium to reach the Championship for the first time in the club’s history. After half a season in the second tier however, Upson moved to Millwall, spending the next 18 months at The Den, before joining Milton Keynes following their relegation from the Championship in 2016. After two seasons at Stadium:MK, Upson stayed in League One and joined up with the Pirates, and he scored his first goal for the club in their 3-1 defeat away at Queens Park Rangers in the second round of the Carabao Cup in late August.

Who’s the ref?

Martin Coy will be the man in the middle when the two sides meet on Tuesday evening, and you can read more about him here.

Last time out

It was Doncaster who won the battle of the Rovers when the two sides met at the Memorial Stadium back in December. John Marquis opened the scoring early on with a stunning strike from distance, before Mallik Wilks doubled the lead with a header from close range before the break. Tom Anderson headed Doncaster further in front after the interval, before Wilks rounded off a swift counter-attack with a low finish past Jack Bonham to seal an emphatic win for Grant McCann’s men.

Tickets for Tuesday night’s Sky Bet League One clash against Bristol Rovers are still available via the Club Doncaster Box Office. Purchase yours now by either visiting in-store at the Keepmoat Stadium, by calling on 01302 762576, or online at tickets.clubdoncaster.co.uk.


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