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Bristol Rovers (H) preview

18 October 2019

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Rovers will look to get back to winning ways when they take on Bristol Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium this weekend.

Darren Moore’s side are still just four points outside the play-off places, as they look to rediscover their form from earlier in the season.

Bristol Rovers travel to South Yorkshire looking to extend their six match unbeaten run in Sky Bet League One, with a 1-0 at home to MK Dons the most recent of those.

 

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 fourth 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?

Graham Coughlan initially took caretaker charge at the Memorial Ground in December 2018 after the departure of Darrell Clarke, before being given the job on a full-time basis just a month later.

Since his appointment, Coughlan has taken charge of 44 games, winning 19, drawing 14 and losing 11 – giving him an overall win percentage of 43.18%.

 

Ones to watch

Tony Craig

The experienced central defender came through the ranks at Millwall and made more than 200 appearances at The Den across three spells. Prior to his final stint there, Craig spent three seasons with London rivals Brentford, helping the Bees gain promotion to the Sky Bet Championship. He made the move to Bristol Rovers in the February 2018, and has become a pivotal figure in the back-line ever since.

 

Ed Upson

Another player with plenty of experience at League One level, Upson has enjoyed plenty of success in the third tier including winning promotion with Yeovil Town in 2013. After starting his career with Ipswich Town, Upson spent four seasons with Yeovil before moving to Millwall in the summer of 2014. A spell with MK Dons followed before signing for Bristol Rovers in the summer of 2018.

 

Tyler Smith

A striker who will be no stranger to Rovers fans, Smith spent the second-half of last season on loan at the Keepmoat Stadium. A product of the Sheffield United youth system, Smith attracted the interest of then manager Grant McCann after an impressive spell with National League side Barrow. He scored two goals on his debut against Burton Albion, but found game-time hard to come by and returned to Bramall Lane in the summer. He secured another loan move in the third tier when he signed for the GAS, and has four goals to his name already this season.

 

Who’s the ref?

David Rock will be the man in charge when Rovers take on Bristol Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium, and you can find out more about him here.

 

Last time out

Rovers ran out 4-1 winners the last time the two sides met at the Keepmoat Stadium in March. James Coppinger scored twice in the opening 12 minutes before Mallik Wilks added a third before half-time. Kieran Sadlier put Rovers out of sight with a brilliant curling effort early in the second-half, with Jonson Clarke-Harris pulling a goal back with a penalty which proved to be nothing more than a consolation.

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