Match Preview: Bristol Rovers v Northampton Town

Bristol Rovers v Northampton Town

Until deep into stoppage time on Tuesday night, the Cobblers and Bristol Rovers sat level on points in League One. But that sickener of a late leveller against the ten men of Town means that we’ll need to win on Saturday if we’re to leapfrog our opponents, with whom we share so much angst and history.
The heroics from the Cobblers in the 1998 playoff semi-final will always come up before, during and after any meeting with Bristol Rovers but the Gas now how their own, albeit dubious, piece of history to wave in our faces every time we meet. Their 2022 promotion after a ludicrous 7-0 home win over Scunthorpe United saw Town drop into the playoffs but the clubs are now back on a level playing field and emotions will be running high at the Memorial Stadium.
The only emphasis that Jon Brady will be pumping into his players, though, will be of collecting three points to distance ourselves from the bottom four places that creep closer every now and again before we come up with a result to settle the nerves.
But as we head to the west country, we face a task made slightly more unpredictable than it would have been a few days ago.

The Opposition

Bristol Rovers come into Saturday in transition after they sent Joey Barton packing earlier this week. A draw with Stevenage, that followed up last Saturday’s 4-1 hammering at Burton, was the final game in charge for Barton and the Gas now go searching for a new boss that can take them back in the right direction in League One.
A 17th place finish in their first season back in League One last season would have been par for the course but the hope was that, with a good summer transfer window that promised plenty, they could kick on this time out. But, despite five points from a tricky opening three games of Portsmouth, Barnsley and Charlton, Rovers have been inconsistent since and lost three of Barton’s final five games in charge. His extraordinary singling out of Luke Thomas in their 2-0 loss at Peterborough added another peg in a long list of controversies for Barton and probably didn’t help his cause, the same way as alienating elements of his own fan base didn’t.
But Barton is now the past for the Gas and they go looking for a new manager. It’s unlikely to be sorted before the weekend but Dean Holden, Neil Harris and Steve Cotterill are among the early front runners.
It all makes their lineup and tactics an unknown quantity for the Cobblers going into Saturday and this could well go either way.

Last Time Out

Bristol Rovers were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Stevenage on Tuesday night while the Cobblers drew 2-2 with Leyton Orient at Sixfields.

One To Watch

With sixteen goals to his name last season and four so far this time out, Aaron Collins leads the line with power and is a constant threat for Rovers. 

The Welshman counts home town club Newport County, Wolves, Notts County, Tranmere, Maidstone, Colchester, Morecambe and Forest Green Rovers among his previous clubs. 

Team News

Bristol Rovers will be missing Ryan Woods after he saw red in their 4-1 defeat at Burton last weekend while Luke McCormick is out with an ankle injury that looks set to keep him out until the New Year. Jordan Rossiter has been out since last December and is still a way off in his recovery from a damaged meniscus.

The Cobblers will again be without Jon Guthrie while Louis Appéré is not likely to be back in time for the trip to the Memorial Stadium and Keiron Bowie is suspended following his red card on Tuesday night. Tyler Magloire, Ben Fox and Danny Hylton are long term absentees.

Line-Up Prediction

Match Officials

Sunny Singh Gill is in charge on Saturday. His last Cobblers game was our 1-0 win at Colchester United back in February. Kevin Howick and Alan Cresswell are running the lines and Mark Derrien is fourth official.


The lack of Joey Barton in the home dugout makes this more unpredictable as the home side will be looking to prove a point to a potential new boss. The Cobblers need to pick something up and I think we can. I’ll go for 1-1.


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