A look at tonight's opponents
On Saturday, Fleetwood became the first team to be beaten at St James Park in 2014 losing 3-0 to Exeter.
Halfway through the first-half Fleetwood’s Jon Parkin broke the deadlock, albeit at the wrong end! He turned a Craig Woodman free kick past Chris Maxwell in the Fylde side goal.
Gas laonee Eliot Richards hit a quick double as he headed home from a corner and minutes later as Maxwell failed to deal with a Tom Nichols free kick, Richards crashed home the loose ball.
Rovers have had a win a draw and a loss in their only three games against the seaside club. Last season’s game at the Mem saw the team’s fight out a steely 0-0 draw and Rovers came out on top in Lancashire as they returned victorious from Highbury Stadium with a 3-0 win, with goals by Danny Woodards, Eliot Richards and John-Joe O’Toole.
In the game in Bristol earlier this season it was 0-0 until the 64th minute when Jamille Matt netted from close range to give the visitors the lead. That lead was short lived, as Rovers equalised just two minutes later.
John-Joe O’Toole headed into the top of the net following a good cross whipped in from the left from Bond.
As Rovers pushed for the winner Fleetwood re-took the lead on 87 minutes, Jamille Matt scoring his second of the game from the edge of the box after good interplay with Sarcevic who opened up Rovers defence.
In time added on the Cod Army got their third to seal the three points. Substitute Jon Parkin, scored an impressive volley from a tight angle.
In tonight’s game Iain Hume and David Ball could be the home team’s strike partnership as boss Graham Alexander seeks a return to winning ways.
Alexander implored his team to, “Toughen up - and quickly.” After the disaster at St James’ Park, “People will be looking at us saying we’ve got a soft chin and we can’t defend ourselves. We’re in the changing room moaning about the referee. What can we say; we can’t have a go at the referee because it was us who weren’t good enough.
“The first goal was disappointing; all three were from set pieces which was disappointing because of the amount of work we do on them. And then we didn’t compete at the level we expect against any team, no matter their position in the table.”
Alexander believes only one of his starting eleven played for their shirt. “We were out battled. We did not compete. There was one individual who can look at himself and say he did everything he had to do and that was Nathan Pond. He was outstanding but it looked like it was more important for Exeter to get the three points than us. That’s not the case.
“The lads are hurt and they should be. But you can’t say you’re hurt afterwards when you’ve had a chance to put it right on the grass. I didn’t see enough to do that until the game was virtually finished. There was nothing in it before the first goal. It was quite a flat game; the first one gives them a lift.
“We didn’t really recover from that to half time. Second half we had a little bit more energy, more opportunities.”
Talking ahead of tonight’s game Alexander went on to say, “We have to go out and show that we care for this club and that we care about our jobs. We’re still massively disappointed from the result against Exeter. We shot ourselves in the foot with set pieces, giving poor set pieces away and not defending them properly.
“Part of the disappointment on Saturday is that people have followed us to the other end of the country and we’ve given them nothing to cheer or go home talking about, apart from negative things. It leaves us with a sour taste in the mouth when we don’t reward that good support with results.”
“Saturday proves there are no easy games,” Alexander said. “We have to earn the right to win games, including against Bristol Rovers. We have to pick a team which we think we will beat Bristol Rovers, regardless of Saturday’s result.”
Written by Gerry Prewett.