A look at tonight's opponents
Bristol Rovers face the haul up the M5/M6 tonight looking for just their second away win in the League this season.
Rovers’ away record of 10 goals scored is the worst in the Division; it is in stark contrast to a rapidly improving home form where they are one of only four teams to have won 10 games on their own turf.
Bury’s Gigg Lane has seen Rovers take maximum points in only two of the twenty one games they have played there.
On Saturday the Shakers put in an impressive performance to take maximum points at Northampton securing their first win in eight games.
Hallam Hope took just 18 minutes to open his scoring account after arriving on loan from Everton on Thursday, Chris Sedgwick’s free-kick reached Danny Nardiello on the left. He played it back to Mayor who reached the goaline before crossing for Hope to head home from three yards.
On 35 minutes Bury doubled their lead when Danny Mayor cut in from the left and saw his 25-yard shot loop in off Northampton’s Ricky Ravenhill.
In stoppage time, Evan Horwood’s poor backpass allowed Danny Rose to walk the ball into an empty net
Speaking after the game Bury boss David Flitcroft said, “We knew this was a game we couldn’t lose and we worked very hard coming into it on keeping a clean sheet. It was important we didn’t give Northampton anything to feed off and we didn’t.
“We’ve talked about how we need to show intent in these games and put teams to the sword and we certainly did those things in this game. They threw the kitchen sink at us with 20 minutes to go but you expect that.
“I wasn’t thinking about how the result would affect Northampton and what it does for them. You have to just focus on your own job and the things you can control. What I do know is that we’ve passed a test of character here and it’s part of a step-by-step process of building a side.”
Whilst Rovers have a pretty good home record against the Shakers the away results are not so impressive! During Rovers' first 7 visits to Bury they came away with 1 win and 6 defeats. At Eastville the results were exactly reversed, as Rovers won 6 and lost 1 against their visitors from Lancashire.
Season 1956-57 really showed remarkable results by the two teams. This was during the days when teams played against one another on Christmas Day and the return fixture on Boxing Day.
The Christmas Day Fixture was at Gigg Lane and the Shakers ran out 7-2 victors. Whether they over celebrated their victory or not the Pirates gained their revenge with a 6-1 win the following day. How can a team get 10 goals better or worse in one day?
On 15 November 2003 Rovers fought hard to gain a lead through Lewes Haldene only to throw away an equaliser in the 70th minute to Dan Swailes. In the push for all three points they lost to a last minute Joe O’Neil stunner. As so often that season Rovers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory!
In the last four games Rovers have won 3 and drawn 1. The draw being the game played out at the Mem on 16 November. There was an explosive start to the game as Rovers took the lead on just three minutes. Eliot Richards made a great run down the left, and was brought down by Shaun Beeley to win a penalty.
John-Joe O’Toole then stepped up and coolly slotted the ball into the top left hand corner. Bury equalised with less than 10 minutes left of the half. The ball in from Shaun Beeley, was headed across goal; Rovers fail to clear and Hylton bundled the ball in from close range.
Talking about his two now loanees Shaker Boss Flitcroft said, “They added a bit more dimension to what we do. I have got two real hungry characters that will chase down everything. Scoring just settles them down but I have brought them in here for their work rate and I thought for two young lads to spearhead what we did at Northampton was infectious.”
The arrival of the two 20-year-olds was tempered by Tranmere’s decision to recall loan striker Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro after Thursday’s loan window closed. However Flitcroft is confident his squad is now strong enough to see them through safely until the end of the season.
“With the deadline closing it gives us time to bed in and say ‘listen, this is the group we are trusting to take us forward’,” he said, “We’ve been sucked into this relegation dogfight and I have found out a lot about our players. They are surprising me every day and that belief is growing.”
Talking of Darrell Clarke he said, “I know Clarkey really well. He’s a very enthusiastic coach and manager so they will possess great enthusiasm for the game. But I have got to back this group. They are getting better daily, so it will be a big test for us.”
Flitcroft will be hoping that a sickness bug going through the camp does not hamper his preparations. Danny Mayor was substituted due to illness on Saturday, and Rose complained of feeling ill following the final whistle. Central midfielder Tommy Miller is also struggling with a thigh strain.