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Match Previews

Match Preview: Northampton Town v Bristol Rovers

9 April 2021

We look ahead to this weekend's clash with the Cobblers on away turf...

A crucial victory on Easter Monday, inspired by Luke McCormick, provided the Gas with a platform to build a late run of form from, with Rovers claiming three points after going behind.

This season, the Gas have claimed an impressive 15 points from losing positions, only beaten across Sky Bet League One by the 21 points achieved by Peterborough United this campaign.

Bouyed by the recent victory, Rovers head into a clash with a Northampton Town side that currently sit as front-runners in the six-team 'mini-league' at the foot of the table, sitting in 19th, two points ahead of the Gas.

We provide the full lowdown on the match ahead in the preview below...

Manager's Preview...

Joey Barton sat down with the media on Friday morning ahead of the weekend's trip to Northampton...

On the agenda this week for the Rovers boss was the morale of the squad following Monday's win and how he perceives the challenges Northampton will pose at Sixfields.

Feature

Manager's Preview - Joey Barton on Northampton Town

Player Preview...

Jack Baldwin also offered his pre-match take on Saturday's contest. 

 

Media Talk...

Ahead of Saturday's fixture, Jon Brady has been giving his thoughts on the prospect of facing the Gas.

Speaking to northamptontown.co.uk, Brady said, “It’s another big challenge for us, throughout the season so far we’ve had big games and right now we’ve put ourselves in a position where we are above the line and we need to keep fighting to move away from it."

“Saturday is another game in our quest to get to where we need to finish. We are organised, prepped and ready to go. We are focusing on our performance and if we perform to the level we know we can we will give ourselves every chance of winning the game.

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Form Guide

Northampton currently lead the 'mini-league' at the foot of the Sky Bet League One tie, but much like the run-in so far, the bottom few sides can change in order dramatically this weekend. With the Cobblers leading the Gas by 2 points, a win on the road on Saturday would see Barton's side jump Northampton Town and move out the drop-zone.

Ryan Watson is likely to be central to everything positive the Cobblers produce on Saturday, having scored crucial goals in wins over Portsmouth and Shrewsbury for his side.

Northampton have taken 6 points from their last five games, with narrow victories coming over Oxford United and the afformentioned Shrewsbury to propel Northampton out of the bottom four. Weakness was shown in their final game of March though, a 1-0 loss in a big relegation fixture against AFC Wimbledon.

Most recently, the Cobblers were defeated by Hull City on the road on Easter Monday, losing 3-0. 

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Referee Watch

David Rock has been appointed as the man in the middle for Saturday's fixture. Previously this season, he referreed the Gas' trip to Oxford United at the end of January, a fixture they lost 2-0. Rock has handed out 86 yellow cards and 6 red cards in the 27 games he's taken charge of this season. 

Stat Pack

At home this season, Northampton have picked up 25 points, two points more on home soil than Rovers.

The Cobblers are the league lowest scoring side at home, with 16 goals in 20 games at Sixfields. They have conceded 22 goals at home.

Jon Brady's side home form over the last six games has seen them pick up 13 points, losing just once and registering 4 wins.

Attacking midfielder Ryan Waston has five goals at home this season - seven in total this campaign so far in the league.

The Cobbles are without a clean sheet in seven games against the Gas, with Rovers unbeaten in 7 encounters against Northampton. In the last five games between the two sides, Rovers have been the first to score on all five occasions and have been leading at the half time stage in four of those contents.

Zain Westbrooke assisted both of Luke McCormick's goals on Monday - the first time this season that a Rovers player has registered more than one assist during a fixture. The midfielder has six assists in total this term.

McCormick's brace against Doncaster Rovers was Rovers' third two-goal tally by a player in an individual game this season. The previous two came in the same game, as both Sam Nicholson and Brandon Hanlan scored twice in our win over AFC Wimbledon back in December.

Brandon Hanlan is the only Rovers players with over 3,000 minutes played in the league this season. The striker has started 36 games for Rovers this term.

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Previous Encounters

The two sides last met at the Mem back in October, where second-half goals from Brandan Hanlan and Jack Baldwin helped Rovers to three points.

Striker Hanlan found the target with a thumping penalty, as Jack Baldwin volleyed home for his first Rovers goal to secure the victory.

Rovers' last visit to Sixfields was in the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy back in January 2019. Tom Broadbent opened the scoring in that tie, before Stefan Payne doubled the Gas' advantage midway through the second half.

The home side grabbed a goal in the 74th minute through Matt Crooks to make the final stages interesting, as Rovers held on to progress in the competition.

Rovers have a history of some high-scoring wins against Saturday's opponents.

Back in January 2017, Rovers hit 5 at home without reply in a comprehensive victory.

Billy Bodin opened the scoring that day, finding the net in the 7th minute, before the Ellis Harrison show well and truly got going, with the Welsh forward scoring a 7-minute hat-trick.

Harrison added his fourth goal and Rovers' 5th goal of the afternoon in the second half, as Rovers marked the three points in style.

Gasheads will have fond memories of a trip to Sixfields back in October 2017.

Rovers went one better on this occasion, scoring six unanswered goals in an emphatic away display.

Billy Bodin scored in the first half to put Rovers at the break. In the second half, playing towards the packed out away end, Rovers went to work.

Ellis Harrison bagged a five-minute brace, with Rory Gaffney, Liam Sercombe and Dom Telford all on the scoresheet.

Betting

EFL sponsors Sky Bet have Rovers priced at 9/1 win by the same scoreline as they did over Doncaster Rovers, while a 2-0 score, what they managed last time out against Northampton, is 12/1. Luke McCormick is priced at 7/2 to continue his scoring form into next game.

To bet with Sky Bet please click HERE.

All odds are correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.

How to Watch

Check out our in-depth guide to the iFollow service down below, and grab your pass for this weekend's big game on the road. Our record following via iFollow this season currently stands at 2,220 passes for an away game, can Gasheads beat that this weekend?

Feature

iFollow Guide: Northampton Town v Bristol Rovers

Around the Grounds

Another round of League One fixtures brings with it a collection of important clashes involving the sides near the foot of the table. AFC Wimbledon travel up north to face Accrington Stanley, while Rochdale are also on their travels, heading to Fleetwood on Saturday. Swindon Town face the tough task of a game against high-flying Peterborough United, and Wigan Athletic head to the Gas' most recent opponents, Doncaster Rovers. 

Our feature 'The Run In' offers all permatations for Rovers' relegation rivals over the coming weekend. 

Feature

The Run-In: 6 Games to Go

 


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