Bristol Rovers team news as big decision made on Everton youngster for Oxford clash

Joey Barton has named an attack-minded team but new signing Lewis Gibson - signed from Everton - only starts on the bench against Oxford

<p>Lewis Gibson only starts on the bench for Bristol Rovers against Oxford United. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)</p>

Lewis Gibson only starts on the bench for Bristol Rovers against Oxford United. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Joey Barton has handed out a home debut to former Brentford defender Lewis Gordon for Bristol Rovers’ clash with Oxford United.

Gordon signed last week after turning down the opportunity to join Crystal Palace’s development team and has since gone on to make two appearances.

And he is no longer the new kid on the loan after Lewis Gibson was signed on a season-long loan from Everton. He was announced yesterday after undergoing a couple of training sessions with the Gas.

But he only starts from the bench this afternoon with Luca Hoole reverting back to centre-back after playing at right-back on Tuesday evening.

In what is an attack-minded defence, Harry Anderson has dropped back from the wing and will take Hooles place on the right-side of the defence.

Home debutant Gordon meanwhile will be on the opposite side of the defence and will have to deal with former Rovers player Billy Bodin.

There’s also a start for player-coach Glenn Whelan who has been preferred over club captain Paul Coutts. He partners Sam Finley who takes the captain’s armband for this afternoon’s crunch fixture with the U’s.

Coutts is available for selection after serving a four-match suspension but he is only named as a substitute as he eased back in to the first-team fold.

Up top, the League One’s top goal scorer Aaron Collins continues to play on the left-hand side of the attack, hoping to build on the three goals he has scored this season.

Antony Evans plays in the more attacking role as the central attacking midfielder, providing support just behind striker John Marquis.

Meanwhile Harvey Saunders is given his first league start of the season, as he hopes to build on a good substitute appearance against Forest Green.

Leading the line once more is Marquis, who remains in search for his first competitive goal in the blue and white quarters but has impressed without finding the net.

That sees Alfie Kilgour and Ryan Loft drop to the bench after their appearances in midweek against Crawley. The injury situation is also clearing up as both Jordan Rossiter and Josh Grant are fit enough to make the bench.

Bristol Rovers (4-2-3-1): James Belshaw, Harry Anderson, James Connolly, Luca Hoole, Lewis Gordon; Sam Finley, Glenn Whelan; Harvey Saunders, John Marquis, Aaron Collins.

Substitutes: Anssi Jaakkola, Alfie Kilgour, Lewis Gibson, Paul Coutts, Jordan Rossiter, Josh Grant and Ryan Loft.