Bristol Rovers predicted XI vs Bradford City - how does Barton fill the two noticeable gaps?

Joey Barton may have to make some changes to bounce back from Bristol Rovers’ defeat to Carlisle United
A decision will need to be made on how to replace Antony Evans and Nick Anderton again. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)A decision will need to be made on how to replace Antony Evans and Nick Anderton again. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
A decision will need to be made on how to replace Antony Evans and Nick Anderton again. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Bristol Rovers hope to get back to winning ways as they welcome Bradford City to the Memorial Stadium in League Two.

Mark Hughes, who is getting a taste for the division after his shock appointment at Valley Parade.

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And he will come up against one of his former players in Joey Barton, who was his captain at Queens Park Rangers.

Hughes is backed by the staff that have followed him during his managerial career whilst he possesses a good amount of football knowledge.

With Bradford posing a different threat, here is how we think Barton will line up against Bradford City.


James Belshaw, who recently signed a new contract, remains unchallenged in between the sticks, bringing confidence to what is a youthful back line.


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At right-back is Luca Hoole, who will hope to put in a better performance than last time round. It was down his side that Carlisle got their goal but that was a slight gloss in what has been a strong showing from him since January.

At centre-back, it is unlikely that at this stage of the season there would be a change to the partnership. James Connolly and Connor Taylor will link up once more and hope to deal with one of the league’s most tricky forwards, Andy Cook.

At left-back is likely to be Harry Anderson who will fill in for Nick Anderton, who has been unable to run off an injury.


A 4-2-3-1 formation is how Rovers have lined up in recent games and that should be expected with both Paul Coutts and Sam Finley acting as one of the barriers to protect the defence as well as an option moving forward with Glenn Whelan dropping to the bench.

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Finley was played slightly higher up last week and put in a respectable shift but dropping him back could allow for a player that could fill in Antony Evans’ absence.

A move from the right side of the midfield for Elliot Anderson and straight into the centre role is an option to consider.

It leaves then two players to be on either side of him with Sam Nicholson one of those. He was brought back earlier than expected after a shin injury but will be needed for this match to cause some problems.

There is then the choice of either Harvey Saunders or Luke Thomas if they stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation. Saunders has been fancied when coming off the bench and this could be the game he gets his chance to make a moment.


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It was a frustrating match for Aaron Collins last week who didn’t get a look in against Carlisle, who did a good job on him.

He was pushed out to the left to accommodate the introduction of Leon Clarke, but you’d still start the Welshman at this point and then see what either Clarke or Ryan Loft can offer.

Bristol Rovers (4-2-3-1): James Belshaw; Luca Hoole, James Connolly, Connor Taylor, Harry Anderson; Paul Coutts, Sam Finley; Sam Nicholson, Elliot Anderson, Harvey Saunders; Aaron Collins.

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