Bristol Rovers to face rivals Swindon Town, Plymouth and Premier League club

Excitement continues to grow as more information comes to light about Bristol Rovers 2022/23 campaign

Bristol Rovers know two of their three EFL Trophy opponents after they were placed into Group E along with Plymouth Argyle and Swindon Town.

All three EFL teams will now await which Premier League academy team that they will face with the draw to take place on Thursday at 11:30 am, where it will be streamed on Sky Sports News.

As to who could be one of; Arsenal, Aston Villa, Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.

As well as the EFL Trophy draw, the 2022/23 League One fixtures will be released earlier in the morning, whilst they will also know their Carabao Cup opponents on the same day.

As the group stage does not have home and away matches, Rovers are of the knowledge that they will play one their three matches against Plymouth at Home Park.

Joey Barton’s side twice came up against losing play-off semi-finalists Swindon last season, picking up a point out of the six on offer. The Robins are currently managerless after their manager Ben Garner left to take charge of Charlton Athletic.

Former Wales midfielder Andrew Crofts had been linked with the role but he is expected to remain in charge of the under-23’s side of Brighton & Hove Albion.

In their ranks they have one-time Bristol City loanee Ben Gladwin, as well as Jojo Wollacott, who is the number one choice goalkeeper for the Ghanian national team.

Plymouth are their other confirmed opponents and they will play them for the first time since March 2021, which was a 2-0 defeat in Devon.

The two teams did play in the EFL Trophy in September 2019 with it being a 1-1 draw that Plymouth won on penalties but they recorded wins over Chelsea and Swindon to make up for it.

Plymouth have Mark Hughes as their assistant manager with the experienced defenders on the books of Rovers last season, but he retired after a short stint to focus on coaching.

Rovers were eliminated in the group stages of the competition last season, winning their opening game against Cheltenham Town but losing to Chelsea’s Under-21’s and Exeter City.

Should Chelsea be drawn again then it would be a repeat of the 2019/20 group stages that saw Rovers progress to the third round.

Their best performance in the competition was finishing as runners-up in the 2006/07 edition, losing 3-2 to Doncaster Rovers in the final at the Millennium Stadium.

2022/23 Papa John’s Trophy Group Stage Southern Section

Group A: Charlton Athletic, Colchester United, Gillingham

Group B: AFC Wimbledon, Crawley Town, Portsmouth

Group C: Cheltenham Town, Milton Keynes Dons, Walsall

Group D: Peterborough United, Stevenage, Wycombe Wanderers

Group E: Bristol Rovers, Plymouth Argyle, Swindon Town

Group F: Exeter City, Forest Green Rovers, Newport County

Group G: Oxford United, Leyton Orient, Sutton United

Group H: Cambridge United, Ipswich Town, Northampton Town

Draw numbers for invited under-21s teams: 1 Arsenal, 2 Aston Villa, 3 Brighton and Hove Albion, 4 Chelsea, 5 Crystal Palace, 6 Southampton, 7 Tottenham Hotspur, 8 West Ham United.