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Match Previews

EFL Trophy Match Preview: Bristol Rovers v Walsall

7 September 2020

We preview this week's midweek clash against Walsall...

Looking ahead

Following Saturday's defeat, Ben Garner took a frank reflection on his side's performance saying, "We made mistakes and got punished for it, and at the other end we didn't take our chances - you just can't do that."

However, looking ahead to Tuesday night's game, Garner discussed the benefits that rotation could have on the squad as a whole, "It gives an opportunity to other players now to get 90 minutes in - we're still going through the process (of getting players 90 minutes), and we'll try and get up to speed as quickly as possible."

View from the Opposition 

Darrell Clarke's side began their 2020/21 campaign with a 0-0 draw against Championship side, Sheffield Wednesday, with the Sadlers eventually crashing out 4-2 on penalties. Alongside Clarke, there will be a few familiar faces in the Walsall squad, with Stuart Sinclair and James Clarke expected to make their return to BS7.

Reflecting on his side's game on Saturday, Darrell Clarke said, "The fitness levels of the lads, work rate, and the way we defended, I thought was outstanding."

Form Guide

The Sadlers had a mixed bag of results in pre-season, as Clarke embarks on his second campaign in charge of the side. A loss against League One Crewe Alexandra may not have been his intended start for Walsall, but a victory over Shrewsbury Town 6 days later showed signs of promise.

Followed up by a draw against Burton Albion, the Sadlers had secured a win, a draw and a loss against three League One sides in the build-up to 2020/21 before Birmingham tucked three past them with no reply in their final pre-season fixture.

In their first competitive fixture of the season, Walsall ground out a 0-0 draw over 90 minutes at home to Sheffield Wednesday, but the Owls were clinical in the penalty shootout that followed, winning 4-2.

Past Meetings

The last meeting between the two sides came at a poignant moment in the 2018/19 campaign, as the 3-1 victory secured by the Gas lifted them out of the relegation zone. Goals from Tom Lockyer, Alex Rodman and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis were the difference on the day, as Rovers returned from Banks's Stadium with all three points.

How to watch

While games are being played behind closed doors, or with limited spectators allowed through the turnstiles, an arrangement exists whereby all matches that are NOT LIVE on Sky Sports will be available to stream by Clubs on iFollow (or Club equivalent service), for a match pass price of £10.

In applicable cases, viewers from overseas will also be able to watch the game live on iFollow, with a £7 match pass.

Supporters who have purchased a Season Ticket for the 2020/21 campaign will receive codes to redeem to watch home league fixtures on iFollow, with the codes expected to be sent out in the near future, ahead of our first home league game.

Cup fixtures (Carabao and EFL Trophy), both home and away aren't covered by the same arrangement, with individual match passes on offer for all supporters. 

Tuesday's EFL Trophy fixture is available to stream with a match pass fee of £10, or £7 for overseas fans. To purchase a match pass, please click HERE

The Pirate!

Grab the first edition of this season's 'The Pirate' programme ahead of kick-off from our partners over at Curtis Sport.

This midweek edition is priced at just £1.50 plus postage and includes the lowdown on our midweek opponents, with the bonus feature of the inclusion of a handy 2020/21 fixture wall planner!

Around the grounds

The Gas' Group L opponents also face off against each other on Tuesday evening, with Oxford United hosting Chelsea Under-21's.

In last year's competition, Tuesday's opponents, Walsall, reached the Third Round of the trophy, knocking out their fellow 2020/21 Group L rivals Chelsea on the way. They were then beaten 2-1 by Portsmouth in the 3rd round. Oxford also progressed from the group stage last year, before being beaten on penalties by Exeter City at the next stage.


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