Bristol Rovers have one of ‘best players’ in League One’ as Charlton boss plots downfall

The caretaker Charlton manager spoke highly of Bristol Rovers and their star-man
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Bristol Rovers striker Aaron Collins is one of the best players in League One, admits Charlton Athletic stand-in manager Anthony Hayes. The Addicks face the Gas at The Valley on Saturday and the 25-year-old is the one player that the London side are looking to nullify.

Hayes is in caretaker charge with the search still ongoing for a manager after they parted ways with former Pirates boss Ben Garner last week. Charlton have played one game since, an FA Cup defeat to Stockport County, with their match last weekend called off due to the icy conditions.

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Rovers are six places ahead of Charlton ahead of Saturday’s clash, with four points separating the two sides. Joey Barton’s side are in-form with just one defeat in their last ten league matches. Charlton are in contrasting form and have not won since October 22, a 1-0 win over Shrewsbury Town.

In Hayes’ assessment of Rovers, he praised the work of Barton, as well as picking out 11-goal Collins, as their main threat, describing him as one of the leading players in the division.

“They are a competitive, honest, hardworking side,” he said to the official Charlton club website in his assessment of the in-form Rovers.

“I’d expect nothing less from a Joey Barton side but I also think they have got a good mixture to their game.

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“I think in young [Aaron] Collins they have got one of the best players in the league. His numbers speak for themselves in terms of creating and scoring goals. He is someone we’ll have to be very mindful of.”

Collins’ status for the trip to South London is touch-and-go after being substituted in the 4-1 win over MK Dons. The Welshman was forced off with an injury after just 15 minutes, and needed to be helped off down the tunnel by the physio team.

After the match, Barton admitted that Collins could have broken his leg and insisted there should have been a red card in the build-up. Barton was unsure as to whether he would be available for this weekend, with midfielder Jordan Rossiter also being assessed.

If Collins were to miss out, they would need John Marquis to step up, and hope Josh Coburn can continue his form. Charlton believe there are weaknesses to Rovers’ game with only Burton and Forest Green Rovers conceding more than them this season. They have also struggled to defend set-pieces with 29% of them coming from that route.

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"There are some vulnerabilities there,” Hayes added. “We’ve got a lot of threats in attacking positions and there will be spaces for us to exploit - it is just a case of maximising those moments on Saturday.”

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