Bristol Rovers boss makes promotion prediction with Derby County and Barnsley lurking

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Wycombe Wanderers claimed a league double over Bristol Rovers - but despite being near to the play-offs, Joey Barton doubts their promotion credentials.

Joey Barton believes promotion-chasing Wycombe Wanderers will not be promoted despite their 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers.

The Chairboys did a league double over the Gas, beating them at the Memorial Stadium and at Adams Park this season. Goals from former Rovers striker Brandon Hanlan and Chem Campbell saw Matt Bloomfield’s side take all three points back to Cambridge.

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Despite having Rovers’ number this season, Barton does not think Wycombe will be playing championship football next season - with the Chairboys currently three points off the play-off places with a game in hand. Wycombe lost to Sunderland in the League One play-off final last year and despite losing key man Anis Mehmeti and manager Gareth Ainsworth, are still in pursuit of a promotion place.

“I don’t think Wycombe are going to go up, they’ve got a bit of work to do,” said Barton. I think it’s going to be a hell of an achievement for them to go up based on what I have seen over two games against them.”

“The group they’re in,  Barnsley and Derby, certainly from our skirmishes seem to be a little ahead of them. Although Wycombe have beaten us twice and taken six points, I expect to see them in the division next season if we can get the required points between now and the end of the season to stay in the division.”

Former Rovers man Hanlan came back to haunt his old side when his strike on 16 minutes gave his new side the lead. Despite having numerous opportunities to get themselves back into the game, and even take the lead, the Gas were hit on the counter, with Campbell’s header wrapping up the tie after the hour mark.

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He said: “It’s a good benchmark for us, a team with Championship experience in there, a few wily old foxes, and tonight, they’ve marshalled our attack and managed to keep a clean sheet. You have to give them credit for that with good defending and good goalkeeping.

“Wycombe will be a top-eight team this season, I think they’ll finish seventh, I might have to eat my words here, but I don’t see how they get to those play-off places.”

The result ends the Gas’ unbeaten run at home as of late, with Barton’s side drawing 0-0 with high-flying Ipswich Town and Barnsley recently - however, Rovers’ wait for a home win goes on, with New Year’s Day being the last time they tasted victory in front of their own fans.

Barton added: “I just think the teams we have played and I might be wrong are further ahead. I think if Gareth Ainsworth and that’s no disrespect to Matt (Bloomfield), he had that formula to get results.

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“Based on watching them tonight, I know they were without Wheeler and Sam Vokes, I don’t think they’re gonna have the results profile going in to keep pace with that top six.

“That top six have some good sides in there and they’re in form as well and winning games. I may well be wrong on that, they’re the benchmark for the top eight-top ten next year because they’ll keep that major core together but they’re more street-wise than us. We’ve got a lot of young people in there.”

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