Bristol Rovers team news as Joey Barton drops key player in key clash with Accrington

Barton’s made a few changes in the hope of a change in fortunes at the Memorial Stadium.
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Joey Barton has made three changes to the Bristol Rovers side that lost 6-3 to Lincoln City last Saturday as they bid for a win against Accrington Stanley at the Memorial Stadium.

For the second home match in a week, Barton has changed things up in the hope of getting a first win in seven.

Alfie Kilgour earns a recall to the team after being an unused substitute last week, despite being the only recognised centre-back. He replaces Glenn Whelan in defence who drops down to the bench.

Rovers are without Luca Hoole, who is away on international duty with the Wales Under-21’s squad. Wales don’t play against Austria until next Tuesday, but the defender has been training near Cardiff this week.

Bobby Thomas returns to the side after serving a one-match suspension for his two yellow cards against Ipswich Town. He is likely to partner Kilgour like he did against Morecambe and at Portman Road.

In a surprise change, talisman Antony Evans has been dropped with captain Paul Coutts coming in to sure up the midfield, offering some solidity.

It could be seen as a 3-5-2 with Gordon playing as a left-sided centre-back, Kilgour in the centre and Thomas playing on the right-hand side.

Trevor Clarke would play as the left-sided wing-back with Harry Anderson occupying the right-side.

In the centre of the park would be Coutts to protect the defence, allowing Sam Finley and Luke McCormick to cause Accrington problems in the centre of the park.

It leaves a front-two pairing of Aaron Collins and Ryan Loft, who both know where the goal is.

Collins is the League One top scorer with six goals this season and is also their most creative player with three assists. He got a brace against Lincoln last week and will want to continue his form.

Loft isn’t too far behind him and after returning to the starting eleven last week after a slight niggle, he scored his fourth goal in as many games.