The Gas won 1-0 at MK Dons on Tuesday evening with Antony Evans coming off the bench to score the winner. Ex-Rovers defender Tom Lockyerwas in attendance and was impressed by what he saw from fellow defender Bobby Thomas.
Spirits are high around Rovers right now after getting themselves out of their slump which saw them go on a long run without a win. They beat Crystal Palace Under-21’s in the EFL Trophy and then wins against Cambridge and MK Dons followed.
Joey Barton’s men have moved away from the tightly contested relegation battle and are now four points clear of 21st-placed Forest Green Rovers. Cheltenham meanwhile are in 19th-place and are a point behind Rovers.
Rovers this weekend make one of the shortest trips of the season as they make their way to Gloucestershire to face Cheltenham, who are managed by Bristol City hero Wade Elliott.
As for the injury situation, things are getting rosier now for Barton’s men, who don’t have as many men in the treatment room. The situation is clearing up after getting past the worst of it.
Rovers will have to do without Josh Grant however for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery. The 24-year-old has had a knee issue and the best course of action has been to get to the root of the issue. He is out of contract at the end of the season but the club are willing to stand by him.
The imminent return of James Connolly however slightly cushions that news when it comes to team selection. Connolly has been out with a back stress fracture which in the early stages of his injury affected Barton massively and had to resort to playing player-coach Glenn Whelan as a centre-back. The 20-year-old is closing in on a return and could play a part against Swindon Town in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday evening.
Alfie Kilgour is available for selection after abiding by concussion protocol. The centre-back was ruled out after feeling dizziness in the EFL Trophy win against Crystal Palace’s Under-21’s, a match in which he opened the scoring in.
Jed Ward - who recently signed a long-term deal - remains sidelined with a hand injury but is out on loan with National League South outfit Hungerford Town. Fellow youngster Jerry Lawrence, who also signed his first professional contract, a two-year deal, is also injured with a groin injury.
Rovers, who have been striker-heavy in their recent formation, are likely to be without experienced striker John Marquis. The 30-year-old tweaked his knee ligaments against Crystal Palace last Tuesday.
As for Cheltenham, there are a few injury concerns and doubts ahead of Saturday’s finish. On-loan West Brom defender Caleb Taylor came with a facial injury but is ‘fine’ and has trained all week according to GloucestershireLive.
Midfielder Will Ferry is a doubt with the club awaiting the outcome of a scan. The 20-year-old who has played 12 times for the Robins this season is nursing a back injury.
Charlie Raglan and James Olayinka are recovering from injuries but trained on Thursday with a decision to be made shortly. Raglan is a centre-back and has played nine times this season, whilst Olayinka has made just one appearance this season.
The hosts have two former Bristol Rovers players in their ranks in Liam Sercombe and Ryan Broom. Sercombe - who has made over 500 appearances in club football - was at Rovers for three seasons and made 127 appearances in total for the club as they solidified their place in the third tier. Welsh midfielder Broom began his career with Rovers after coming through their youth system but only made 12 appearances in total with much of his time spent out on loan at the likes of Bath City and Taunton Town.