Bristol Rovers line up confirmed for Exeter clash as Fulham winger remains benched

Sylvester Jasper’s wait for a first start goes on for Bristol Rovers

Joey Barton has stuck with his newly-introduced 3-5-2 formation for Bristol Rovers but has made four changes for the visit to St James Park to face Exeter City.

After three back-to-back defeats and a winless run of eight matches, things have changed again for the starting line-up as Barton finds a formation and squad that can work for everyone.

Luca Hoole returns to the starting eleven after missing last week’s defeat to Accrington Stanley through international duty, where he played 46 minutes for Wales’ Under-21’s.

He replaces Alfie Kilgour in a three-man back line along with Lewis Gordon, who is still adapting to the role and on-loan Burnley defender Bobby Thomas who is in the centre of the three.

In midfield there is a change with Trevor Clarke and Harry Anderson dropped which means that Aaron Collins drops to the left-side of the flanks and Luke McCormick could be on the right. It would leave a three-man central midfield of Antony Evans, Jordan Rossiter and Sam Finley who has been appointed skipper for the day.

Up top, John Marquis is back in the starting XI and he is likely to partner Ryan Loft.

Things could change before kick-off with it becoming an increasingly tricky test to predict what system Rovers are playing before kick-off. Another way at looking at it could be the 3-4-3 formation which is quie attacking minded, with Collins, Loft and Marquis being the front three.

Kilgour is the only recognised centre-back on the bench, but is joined by Clarke as the other ‘defensive’ player. Paul Coutts and player-coach Glenn Whelan are the central midfield options. On-loan Fulham winger Sylvester Jasper is still awaiting his first start since his Deadline Day move. Harvey Saunders is the only striker on the bench with the rest of the available options starting whilst Anssi Jaakkola is the back-up goalkeeper on the bench.

Bristol Rovers (3-5-2): James Belshaw; Lewis Gordon, Bobby Thomas, Luca Hoole; Aaron Collins, Antony Evans, Jordan Rossiter, Sam Finley, Luke McCormick; Ryan Loft and John Marquis.

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