Bristol Rovers host Peterborough United at the Memorial Stadium in their latest League One clash. A total of 13 places separate the two teams with Grant McCann’s side currently fourth on 31 points, whilst Rovers are in seventeenth on 21 points, ten points fewer than the visitors.
The Posh were involved in the FA Cup in midweek as they defeated Salford City 3-0 in a first round replay. Ephron Mason-Clark opened the scoring before Jack Marriott scored twice in a five-minute spell towards the latter stages of the second-half.
Rovers’ last match was against Fleetwood Town in which they came from behind to go 2-1 in front thanks to goals from Josh Coburn and Aaron Collins, but they conceded a 99th-minute equaliser to Shaun Rooney. First-team manager Joey Barton was shown a red card by the referee before seven minutes of stoppage time were indicated.
Peterborough are the joint-third highest scorers in the division with 36 goals this season. Rovers meanwhile have conceded 33 goals, which is the third highest in the league with only Forest Green and Burton Albion conceding more than them.
Rovers have lost just once in their last 12 matches, but have not won in the league since their 4-1 win over Cheltenham Town on October 15. They have recorded draws against Plymouth Argyle, Sheffield Wednesday and Fleetwood, but lost to Derby County. Ahead of the match, we take a look at what the injury situation is like for both teams.
Bristol Rovers injury news
The Gas have been boosted by the return of Ryan Loft who is in contention to start. Loft had been sidelined by a hamstring injury that forced him to be subbed off at Hillsborough. Loft has not played since and has missed the last three matches.
The 25-year-old has six goals in 19 matches this season and is pushing to be in contention. Fellow striker John Marquis made a return to action last week, coming off the substitute’s bench and is available for selection.
Harry Anderson and club captain Paul Coutts, will not make this match however. Anderson does not have a specific time frame to recover from the foot injury he suffered against Sheffield Wednesday.
Coutts meanwhile has returned to Rovers’ training ground after sustaining an ankle injury last month. It forced him into wearing a protective boot and into using crutches, but he is now out of the boot and is stepping up his recovery.
Josh Grant, who underwent surgery for a knee problem is out for the remainder of the campaign. Grant only made one substitute appearance against Oxford United this season before being ruled out.
Peterborough United injury news
Former Gas striker Jonson Clarke-Harris did not feature against Salford after being ruled out with illness. Clarke-Harris is the league’s top scorer with 12 goals this season. He has played as an opposition player before at the Memorial Stadium, but that was without spectators. Saturday’s match could act as an opportunity for Rovers fans to show their admiration for either their current crop or their former forward.
Oliver Norburn is another player who once turned out for Rovers between 2012 and 2014, making more than half a century of appearances. He later moved on to Plymouth Argyle, before ending up at Peterborough, but will not make a return this Saturday.
Norburn is sidelined with a knee ligament injury he sustained whilst on international duty in late March. He was their club captain before Clarke-Harris replaced him in his absence.
Joe Ward missed the last two matches through an knee problem but Kwame Poku overcame an ankle issue to play on Saturday. Joel Randall and Josh Knight came down with illnesses but both played a part on Wednesday and so Peterborough should have several players available. Finland international Lucas Bergstrom - on loan from Chelsea - will be absent through international duty.
Emmanuel Fernandez and Benji Mensah are long-term absentees with the former having a knee issue and other issues, which has kept him sidelined for almost two years.