‘It’s quite a hostile place’ - Oxford United player’s verdict ahead of Bristol Rovers return

The Wales international is making his second appearance at the Mem with Oxford United - and has spoken about the atmosphere

<p>Billy Bodin loved his time at Bristol Rovers. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)</p>

Billy Bodin loved his time at Bristol Rovers. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Billy Bodin believes the Memorial Stadium is a ‘hostile’ place for teams visiting Bristol Rovers.

The 30-year-old has been on both sides of the fence having been a player with the Gas for a couple of years.

Bodin had the most successful time of his career in the West Country as he helped the club get promoted from League Two to League One, solidifying their place with a top-half finish.

This lunch-time, the one-time Wales international will be on the opposition side as he returns with Oxford United.

Ahead of kick-off, he said to This is Oxfordshire: “Once the fans get going it’s quite a hostile place if you’re in the opposition, but if you’re a Rovers player you feed off it.

“Hopefully we can turn that around on Saturday, stamp our authority on the game and get the result we need.”

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After recovering from a long-term injury which had him miss almost 18-months of action, he was given a home at Rovers under popular boss Darrell Clarke. He ended up scoring 37 goals in 107 games.

It is a time of his career that he will only look back on with fond memories having been the platform to set him up for Championship football.

In 2018 he was sold to Preston North End for an undisclosed fee and spent four seasons there.

Last summer after his contract was up he moved to the Kassam Stadium and this year signed a new two-year deal to extend his stay.

“It’s somewhere that gave me the chance back in football,” Bodin said to This is Oxfordshire.

“I was without a club and went on trial and the rest is history. “I had a good spell there so I’ve got fond memories.”

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Also returning to the Mem having played there for Rovers is Matty Taylor, who may get a difference in reception from the home faithful.

Taylor - who had scored the goals to get Rovers out of the National League and League Two - was sold on Deadline Day after inter-city rivals Bristol City activated the release clause in his contract.

Both players had graced the Mem pitch before but that was when spectators weren’t permitted.

Last year Rovers then of League Two, dumped Oxford out of the FA Cup after mounting an incredible comeback.

“Hopefully it’ll be fairly good, it was last time, obviously not so much for my teammate.

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“Whenever I’ve gone back there it’s always been good so hopefully that will continue.

“It was a bad night when we got done in the cup, so hopefully we can get a better result this time.”