Bristol Rovers are in to Round Three of the Papa John’s Trophy. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Bristol Rovers are through to the last 16 of the Papa John’s Trophy after a stoppage-time win over Colchester United. Harvey Saunders restored the Gas’ lead in the 95th minute after Freddie Sears had cancelled out James Connolly’s opener.
Joey Barton’s side are just three games away from a Wembley Stadium final. Rovers have not played at the venue since defeating Grimsby Town on penalties to get back into the Football League.
Rovers are firing on all cylinders, as they currently occupy 15th spot in League One, as well as being in the second round of the FA Cup against National League outfit Boreham Wood.
Here is everything you need to know for the EFL Trophy draw, including who, when and where the Gas could be playing.
Who could Rovers face?
The draw remains regionalised at this stage of the competition, with the quarter-final being when the draw is freed up. Everton and Mansfield Town will be played next Tuesday on November 30, so both teams will be in the draw, but that will be in the north section.
Rovers were one of four League One teams that won their ties with Cheltenham Town, MK Dons, Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth through to the next round. AFC Wimbledon and Stevenage are the two League Two teams involved in the draw, whilst Chelsea’s Under-21’s are through after beating Peterborough United 4-2.
Rovers have beaten Cheltenham, MK Dons, drawn twice with Plymouth and fallen to defeats to Portsmouth and Forest Green Rovers. Wimbledon could be an opportunity for Luke McCormick to face his former club after making the summer move to the Memorial Stadium from Plough Lane.
Rovers last played Stevenage in February 2022 when Paul Tisdale was in charge, suffering a 4-0 defeat. Out-of-favour midfielder Zain Westbrooke had a loan spell with the Hertfordshire club last season.
Chelsea Under-21’s are a familiar opponent to Rovers in the Papa John’s Trophy, having been in the same group as them in the 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 season. Rovers won 2-1 in September 2019 and 4-3 in November 2020 but lost 2-1 in October 2021.
What are the ball numbers?
1. AFC Wimbledon
2. Bristol Rovers
3. Chelsea U21
4. Cheltenham Town
5. MK Dons
6. Plymouth Argyle
When is the second round?
The Papa John’s Round of 16 ties will take place on the week commencing of Monday, December 12. It leaves two likely options with it either Tuesday, December 13 or Wednesday, December 14.
The match would be played after Rovers’ League One clash with Port Vale on Saturday, December 10 and before their trip to Charlton Athletic, on Saturday December 17.
When will the EFL Trophy draw take place?
The draw will take place on Thursday, November 24 at 16:30 and will be broadcast on Sky Sports News.
Claire Tomlinson will host the draw and will be joined by Joey Barton’s former Manchester City teammate Shaun Wright-Phillips, who will have the pleasure of drawing the teams out.