06.01.23 Match Preview - Cambridge United v Rovers

Rovers travel to Cambridge looking to record back-to-back wins.

Manager Preview


Joey Barton was in confident mood ahead of tomorrow's test at The Abbey Stadium.

"Why can’t we go and win 22 games out of 22? Why not? Every game is winnable. We have played everybody and we know we can beat anybody.

"The next one is the most important and Cambridge will be a really tough game. They have lost 5-0 (to Sheffield Wednesday). They will be better than they were because their pitch is narrower than Hillsborough and they will be a wounded animal, so they will be dangerous.

"But also, we can beat them. We play Accrington after that with a cup game sandwiched between and that’s the way I see it. Every opponent is susceptible to being beaten.

"We came up and everyone was expecting us to just stay up this year and consolidate the group, but because we’re a firm of greedy so-and-sos, we are wanting to get promoted and kick on again.

"My belief is extraordinary people do extraordinary things. Last year, what we did was ordinary but in extraordinary circumstances with the finale of the season. But it was just ordinary, Bristol Rovers finishing third, if you had looked before the season you would say that is par for the course.

"To go and get promoted again, it is my belief that would set this set these lads apart. If we do that, I think we go down in the annals of the club’s history."


Player Preview


Top scorer Aaron Collins spoke with club media ahead of the trip to Cambridge.

“I’m happy here, I think people can tell that from the smile on my face, I’m playing well and I’m here for the next two and a half years,” said Collins.

“It’s been my best year to date. It’s been a great year, for the club as well as me individually, and I’ve fully enjoyed being here as well as fully enjoyed my football. For me, I’m at an age, 25, where a lot of people say strikers hit their prime and I can go even further with goals, assists and take this club even further.”

“I’m here at Rovers now, just doing my job,” Collins added. “My job is - I signed a new contract at the start of the season, because I was happy here and because the club wanted me to be here and, now I’ve just got to go and do my job which is score and assist and hopefully get this club to places they haven’t been before.

“I can’t complain about anything at the moment, I’m enjoying my football as much as I ever have. I don’t need to look good anywhere else, I don’t need to think about the future, I just need to concentrate on now, and do what I need to do.”

Opposition View


Cambridge boss Mark Bonner said: "We've had a little bit of time to recover from the defeat to Sheffield Wednesday and we will look to respond against Bristol Rovers. Joey's teams are always tough opponents and we have players back from injury, so this week has given us chance to train and, through this month, hopefully, add to the squad."

One name added on Friday was defender Ryan Bennett, formerly of Wolves, who joined the Us and could come into contention to face the Gas.

Bonner added: "They (Rovers) are very fluid in their formations and are very attacking. They make you defend a lot, and will be confident coming into the game. But our job is to find a good level of physicality, as we did recently at home to Plymouth."

Form Guide (all competitions)

Cambridge: L D W L L 

Rovers: W W L L W 

Ref Watch


The man in the middle on Saturday will be Thomas Parsons. The referee has taken charge of 27 games this season, across many different divisions. He has officiated in three League One fixtures and, last weekend, was the fourth official for the Wigan v Hull game in the Championship. 

In addition, he has been a linesman or Fourth Official 21 other times.

During this period, he has issued 50 yellow cards at a rate of 1.85 per game and has shown one red card. 

Betting Preview

EFL sponsors SkyBet have priced Rovers at 5/4 for the win. A 2-0 scoreline in favour of the Gas can be backed at 10/1. On the goalscorer markets, Ryan Loft is priced at 7/1 to open the scoring at The Abbey Stadium whilst Luca Hoole can be backed at 16/1 to score anytime throughout Saturday's clash. 

*Odds correct at the time of writing. Please bet responsibly. To bet with SkyBet, please click HERE.

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