By Gerry PrewettAfter opening the season with two defeats Bristol Rovers take the short trip into Somerset to face Paul Sturrock’s Yeovil Town.
Yeovil have also lost both their opening two games and are very low in confidence after shipping 6 goals in those two games.
In their opening League game at Exeter, the Glovers conceded a penalty just after the half hour mark which Tom Nichols slotted home. David Wheeler made it 2-0 shortly before half-time as he calmly finished past Yeovil goalkeeper Chris Weale.
The Somerset team reduced the arrears just one minute into the second half with Marc Laird netting. Then just after the hour Matthew Dolan equalised as the Glovers were awarded a penalty of their own.
Having worked so hard to get back into the game and with just six minutes left former Brighton and Watford striker Will Hoskins lifted the ball over Weale to score for the Grecians.
On Tuesday night Yeovil entertained Championship team QPR in the Capital One Cup. The visitors broke the deadlock in the 16th minute when Sebastian Polter stole the ball from Stephen Arthurworrey, before firing an effort past Artur Krysiak.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas doubled QPR's lead four minutes later with a close-range finish after being picked out at the back post by Cole Kpekawa. The Hoops grabbed a third goal in the 56th minute when Onuoha fired home after a scramble inside the box.
Manager Sturrock has admitted that he is surprised at how badly Stephen Arthurworrey has performed for Yeovil Town this season. The Fulham loanee has been directly responsible for two goals according to Sturrock.
"It's individual errors that are costing us dear and you can't get started when you're chasing the game," Sturrock said after watching Yeovil go 2-0 down within 20 minutes.
"In the first half I thought we lost two bad goals. In the second after I'd had a chat with them I thought we were a bit more positive in our approach and we could have maybe got a goal back and who knows what would have happened then."
Arthurworrey's poor form is particularly surprising as the 20 year-old was considered to be among Yeovil's best players last term during a similar loan spell from Craven Cottage, playing 32 matches in all competitions for the South Somerset outfit.
"You can't legislate for individual mistakes. Stephen is a bit down and should be because he's been involved in a couple of goals being conceded lately," Sturrock continued, "I wouldn't have expected Stephen – who had a fantastic year for us last season – to have been involved in two or three goals already this term.”
"The only place we can sort this is on the training ground, there's nowhere else. The defenders are young and inexperienced but hopefully they'll learn quickly as they don't smell danger as well as I'd like them to. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise that after losing six goals in two games where our problems lie.”
"We need to dust ourselves down and make sure two days on the training ground are beneficial to the result and our performance on Saturday.”
Looking to the history of games between the clubs the very first time they met was back in November 1924. Rovers were drawn away to Yeovil and Petters (as Westland Helicopters were earlier known) in the first round of the Cup. Morgan (2), Phillips and Whatmore scored for Rovers and Gardner and Hayward for the Glovers giving a 4-2 away win.
The Glovers recorded a historic victory in their first ever League visit to the Mem in December 2003 followed by their thrashing of Rovers 4-0 in their first League visit to Huish Park.
The following season saw an amazing 2-2 draw at the Mem and Rovers once again go down heavily in South Somerset 4-2. Last season both games went in favour of the away team with a 2=1 result at the Mem and a 3-0 score line at Huish Park.
In 2010/11 Rovers won both League games by a single goal, 2-1 at home and 1-0 at Huish Park. In total the clubs have crossed paths 15 times with 5 wins to the Glovers, 5 to the Gas and 5 draws.
Glovers Manager Sturrock saw Marc Laird forced off the pitch with a hamstring injury in mid-week, a problem which is likely to keep the midfielder out of action for at least two weeks. Laird joins an ever-growing list of absentees which has now bloated to eight and with Jack Compton - who has a calf tear - the only one who could even possibly make the squad for the Rovers game, the manager has something of a selection crisis on his hands.
"Five or six of the players who are injured at the minute would probably start for us. So it's difficult to get a settled team who can achieve the standards I'm looking for."
"We've shown signs but we're not getting 90 minutes of it at the moment. I think we saw that on Saturday in the second half. We've got 15 players to choose from and with four on the bench, three of those will be strikers. When these players come back we're going to have to get a shape and a blend again. So it's a bit disappointing the way things are turning out at the minute."
Sturrock has already recruited 17 new players for the Glovers this summer. Securing new faces before Saturday's match at Huish Park could be tricky, but with his squad depleting all the time the Yeovil boss could be set for a busy week.
"It would be nice to get a few players in before Bristol Rovers but we'll cross that bridge later in the week. I'll weigh things up and decide if I want to bring a few players in. The board of directors have been excellent so far and have allowed me to reshuffle and rebuild and I know myself that if I can put my starting XI out there we'll be competitive."
"Compton could push himself to be ready for the game, but both [Ben] Tozer and [Kevin] Dawson won't be back until late September and [Simon] Gillett obviously is out until just before Christmas," he said, "[Ryan] Dickson has problems too so there's experienced players there who could be really influential to the team. We've got to get everyone healthy as quickly as possible, but the crux of the matter is we've got games at the same time and we've got to start putting points on the board. We don't want to be in a dog fight come the end of the season.”
"Who'd be a football manager? I'm telling you at this minute in time I've got to go away and dust myself down. I know the things we've got to work on and I know we can get it right, but first thing is getting the team healthy."