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Club News

Movers and Shakers Part Three

31 May 2018

Parts three and four of our series of articles on the makeup of next season's League One should probably be called no change as, having featured the promoted and relegated clubs, we now turn our focus to those clubs that remain.

We begin these two parts with a look at the clubs that finished in the top half of the table, and who we will face again next season.

We begin with Shrewsbury Town, who enjoyed a fantastic campaign, but lost out to Rotherham United in the play-off final.

It was their second Wembley defeat of the season, as they lost to Lincoln City in the Checkatrade Trophy final and they must be wondering what they have to do to win at the home of English football. That's five defeats at Wembley now, which must be known to their supporters as the Theatre of Screams!

The Shrews, one of the most organised sides Rovers have come up against in recent seasons, spent over 200 days of the regular season in the division's top two, but will have to do it all over again come August.

They will, in all probability, have to do it with a new man in charge as Paul Hurst, the manager who saved them from relegation in 2016/17 and almost led them to The Championship this time around, seems certain to take the managerial reins at Ipswich.

Gasheads will add another 124 miles to their schedule if travelling to Shrewsbury next season, though it is a relatively easy venue to locate.

The Shrews did the double over Rovers last season, winning 4-0 at their place and 2-1 at The Mem. Overall, though, we have the upper hand when it comes to league wins against them, 26 to 18 with 12 games ending all square.

Scunthorpe also lost out in the play-offs, to Rotherham at the semi final stage. A top ten side for the last three seasons, they will have been disappointed not to have made it to Wembley at least this time around.

Their sacking of manager Graham Alexander in March of this year came as a little bit of a surprise, but caretaker boss Nick Daws led them to a fifth placed finish and has now been appointed manager on a permanent basis. Alexander, meanwhile, has taken over as boss at Salford City, newly promoted to the National League.

He was in charge for both of Scunny's games against The Gas last season, a 1-0 win at Glanford Park and a 1-1 draw at The Mem in February.

A single trip to Scunthorpe comes in at 214 miles, one of the longest journeys of the season to a ground where we haven't won since February 2009.

The overall league record in 38 games against The Iron is 15 Rovers wins, 14 draws and nine Scunthorpe victories. Incredibly, we have never met in any of the cup competitions.

If we are searching for bad runs, though, look no further than our games against Charlton Athletic, who finished in sixth place and also lost out in the play-off semi-finals, to The Shrews.

The last time Rovers beat Charlton in an away game in the league was way back in March 1958 when Bert Tann's side returned to Bristol with a 3-2 win under their belts.

Our overall record against The Addicks isn't that bad, though, as we have won 19 of the 68 league games played between the clubs, lost 21 and drawn 18.

Charlton away was our first game of the 2017/18 season and we lost 1-0 that day, though drew 1-1 in the return fixture at The Mem on 7th April this year.

A one way trip to The Valley is a distance of 166 miles.

Plymouth Argyle finished seventh in last season's League One table, quite an achievement seeing that they were rock bottom when they visited The Mem in September last year.

Rovers ran out 2-1 winners that day but lost the return game down at Home Park in March of this year, 3-2. A late Plymouth penalty won them the points that afternoon after Rovers had twice been ahead in the game.

Always touted, by some, as a west country derby it's anything but, as Home Park is 124 miles from The Mem!

The new season will see the 89th and 90th league fixtures between the two clubs and Argyle are ahead in the games played to date, having secured maximum points in 36 games while Rovers have 26 wins to their name and there have been 26 draws.

Portsmouth, in the Premier League as recently as 2010, a year in which they also reached the FA Cup Final, finished in eighth place last season, having won the League Two title in 2016/17.

The fan-owned club are one of only five sides to win all four of the fully professional divisions in English football.

There have been 32 meetings in the league between the clubs since the very first meeting back in February 1921, when both sides were founder members of the Third Division.

Pompey have 17 wins to their name, Rovers nine and there have been six draws. It's another 124 mile trek to reach Fratton Park, a ground where Rovers have also played an away game against Millwall, in April 1978, when the London side were ordered to play the game away from The Den.

Another team beginning with the letter 'P' finished in ninth place last season, Peterborough United making it three 'P's' in a row in the league standings.

Having flirted with the play-offs for much of the season and changing managers at the end of February, when Steve Evans took over, The Posh will surely be hoping to be challenging for a play-off spot at the very least next season.

They beat us comfortably at The Mem last season, 4-1 in our opening home fixture, but we did share the spoils when we visited London Road. It was a 1-1 draw that day, notable only for Tony Craig's first Gas goal.

The first ever league match between the sides, in September 1962, ended 3-1 in Rovers favour, though in the 33 matches since then The Posh are out in front with 13 wins to the nine of Rovers. Twelve matches have ended in draws.

It's 170 miles from The Mem to London Road.

Our final game of last season was against Southend at Roots Hall, a mere 174 miles away from The Mem and not an ideal trip on a Bank Holiday weekend as that one was!

The game ended goalless, one of 26 in the 104 league games between the clubs. Rovers have 38 wins and Southend 40 which seems to prove that the two clubs have never strayed far from each other since first meeting back in 1920/21 and that they have been fairly equal in terms of league results.

A couple of games against The Shrimpers are fairly significant in Rovers' history. For example in their final away league game of the 1973/74 campaign Rovers clinched promotion to the Second Division by virtue of a Friday night goalless draw at Roots Hall.

On 25th October 2008, at The Mem, Rovers ran out 4-2 winners against Southend, Rickie Lambert scoring all four goals in the first 55 minutes.

Bradford City, pre-season favourites for promotion, fell away badly as the season progressed and finished in 11th place having had three managers during the campaign, Stuart McCall, Greg Abbott and Simon Grayson.

Rovers capitulated at Valley Parade, losing 3-1 on the first Saturday in September, while the return game at The Mem in January of this year saw Rovers win by the same score, with Liam Sercombe, Chris Lines and Joe Partington on target for The Gas.

The Bantams have never won an away league game against Rovers and in 26 games Rovers have 14 victories to their name, Bradford City five and there have been seven draws.

Be prepared for another long journey, Gasheads, as the distance from The Mem to Valley Parade is 216 miles.

 


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