Bristol Rovers predicted XI v Wycombe: How Gas could line-up under Joey Barton
Here’s how the Gas could line up against Wycombe Wanderers at the Mem this evening
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The Gas had been due to play the Chairboys in January, but a frozen pitch meant that the fixture was postponed. Since then the opposition have changed managers with Matt Bloomfield replacing Gareth Ainsworth, who left for QPR. Bloomfield has had the experience of playing against Rovers this season, and was in charge of Colchester United before he took the reins at Adams Park.
Wycombe suffered a shock defeat to relegation contenders Burton Albion last Saturday, losing 2-1 with Tjay de Baar’s 85th minute goal not enough. As for Joey Barton’s side, they won 3-1 against Forest Green Rovers, despite falling behind and conceding a penalty. Several players were missing and with it being a double game week, he could consider making changes to freshen things up, ahead of a tasty encounter against Portsmouth this weekend. Here’s how we think the Gas will line up against Wycombe this evening. Tell us what you think!
James Belshaw has been the first choice for the last couple of games now, and his penalty save should keep him there again. Ellery Balcombe was a good signing, but since Belshaw’s return against Oxford, Rovers have been on a mini unbeaten run, and his return to the side has brought some confidence back to the side.
Against Forest Green, Barton reverted to a three-man defence of Lewis Gibson, Jarell Quansah and Luca Hoole. It’s something to consider again, given Wycombe have several options and are a physical side.
Rovers defence will have been frustrated as to how Charlie Savage scored, but all three centre-backs should be given the nod again. Hoole entered the professional game as a right-back and at least as a right sided centre-back he can do that. He’s been one of the most improved players in recent weeks, and we’ll hope to see him continue that momentum.
As for Quansah in the centre of a back three, this is an exciting prospect as he is so comfortable on the ball. The on-loan Liverpool defender is chasing his first goal and after going near in previous matches, a goal can’t be too far off.
As for Gibson, his return has coincided with an upturn in form. Gibson is versatile and can play anywhere across the back line, but at left-sided centre-back he is at home. He’s out of contract at the end of the season and so a string of good performances could persuade Barton to sign him permanently.
As for the wing-backs, Lewis Gordon and Scott Sinclair played on either side, and we should expect that to happen again. Sinclair got a goal from that position, and was named in the League One Team of the Week.
In central midfield, Paul Coutts has been ruled out whilst Sam Finley will be assessed after missing the win against FGR. Coutts has had a knee problem that has troubled him since last week, whilst Finley was out through illness. Finley’s an important player but Lamare Bogarde continues to impress and he, alongside Grant Ward who is playing for a new contract, should be afforded the opportunity to build up their partnership.
As for midfield, perhaps Antony Evans should be given a chance in the ten position. Evans has tried to adapt to life in a higher division, and he’s not always had it his own way but with survival nearly secured, perhaps playing him in that position could get his confidence back and get him involved in more goals.
After a spell as a substitute, Josh Coburn started on Saturday and put himself about well, despite not getting a goal. He’s had a slight niggle in recent weeks, and that is why perhaps Aaron Collins should be pushed further forward. Collins likes to drift out to the flanks and come deep to pick up the ball, and so putting him in a two would be beneficial. Coburn could come off the bench and cause problems to the tiring defenders.
Two-goal hero John Marquis will also get the nod after his heroics at the New Lawn. Marquis has been one of the best players over the last few games, and his two goals was a reward for his hard work and determination.
Bristol Rovers (3-4-1-2): James Belshaw; Lewis Gibson, Jarell Quansah, Luca Hoole; Lewis Gibson, Grant Ward, Lamare Bogarde, Scott Sinclair; Antony Evans; John Marquis and Aaron Collins.