A look at tonight's opposition
On a rare Friday evening game Bristol Rovers entertain 6th placed Burton Albion in what promises to be a thrilling game.
With 10 goals scored by Rovers in the only two home games against the Brewers the Gas will be hoping that by the end of the evening they will be in 16th spot.
The Midlands team have an impressive away record with 7 victories, 5 draws and just 2 defeats on the road. Their last away defeat was on 16th November when they went down 2-0 at Dagenham, since then they have won 2 and drawn 5 of the 7 away games.
Last season Rovers entertained the Brewers on a bright March day and three crosses from the wing sent the away team home disappointed. After just 5 minutes Ryan Brunt gave the Gas the lead, a Joe Anyinsah cross in to the penalty area found Brunt, who fired home from close range.
The score line stayed the same until the 62nd minute when John-Joe O”Toole got on to the end of an Ollie Norburn cross inside the box and found the net from close range. The game was made safe 8 minutes later as home debutant Ellis Harrison this time, crossed for Eliot Richards to drive home with his right foot.
This result was a vast improvement from Burton’s only previous visit when Mark McGhee’s team ran riot with a 7-1 victory.
On Tuesday night the Derbyshire team came away from Spotland with a share of the spoils from their game with Rochdale. The Brewers took the lead when Jimmy Phillips won a corner down the left and Damien McCrory swung the ball in.
Sharps got up well to thump a header at goal, Dale keeper Josh Lillis parried, but Zeli Ismail was there to slam it in from close range for his second goal for the club.
The away team lost their way at the start of the second half and the pressure finally told after 66 minutes, as Rob Lainton’s howler handed Dale the equaliser.
George Donnelly hit a hanging ball into the area and Albion’s on-loan keeper tried to get a punch on it but could only skew the ball back into his goal, with a desperate clearance on the line from an Albion defender not enough to stop it going over.
Interviewed after the match Manager, Gary Rowett said, “You could argue we are frustrated after conceding a goal like that having worked so hard with the game plan we had.
"It worked really hard for 65 minutes and at that stage you don’t want to give them a cheap way back into the game and we possibly did. You have to take that on the chin and hope it doesn’t affect the rest of the game.
“For five or 10 minutes we started to concede a bit of space but we regained composure well and towards the end had one or two openings from set-pieces. I’d have taken a point before the game because Rochdale are a very good side and I’m sure they will be up there or thereabouts at the end of the season.”
Defender Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, a former Dale player also commented. “We had the three points in our grasp but they got the better of us in the last twenty minutes or so and pushed us back to force the errors. It is disappointing from that perspective but to come here and take a point home with us is a good result.”
Looking forward to Friday’s game the Australian commented, “We will have a breather on Wednesday although I will generally do a little bit myself to blow away the cobwebs and we will be back in for a really good training session on Thursday to keep us loosened up, particularly those of us who have played against Rochdale.
"We need to do enough so that we are not too lethargic but we also have to be careful not to overdo things. A lot of good food and good rest is essential. Then we should be ready for Friday for another good game.
“As a player I prefer it when the games come thick and fast like this. Sometimes it gets a little bit boring when you are only playing on Saturdays and there is nothing in between apart from training.
"I find that you need that competition and that bit of fight and also when you are winning and picking up points, pushing up the table that is when it is exciting and you want the next game to come around as soon as possible.
“I think that Bristol Rovers will pose us different problems to Rochdale. I think they will probably be a little bit more direct. I think they will be desperate for the points but for a different reason to us and that means we can expect a tougher, more physical encounter as opposed to what we came up against with Rochdale.
“I always go into every game thinking that we are going to get a positive result and the way we are performing at the back at the moment there are certainly not a lot of goals getting past us so it is looking good for us from a defensive perspective.
"We just need that little bit of luck up front just to bang in two or three goals instead of just the one and I can see it coming. We are certainly creating the chances and the luck just needs to go with us a little bit more.”
“Every time you drop points it does add a little bit more pressure but there are still plenty of games to go and we still have to play some of the sides around us. We will aim to go down there on Friday and keep the points total ticking along and if we can do that it will put us in a good position ahead of the weekend and the games to come.”
Written by Gerry Prewett