Scunthorpe United manager tips Joey Barton to turn Bristol Rovers into promotion favourites

Both sets of managers have been complimentary of one another ahead of kick-off this evening
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Scunthorpe United manager Keith Hill says that Joey Barton will mould Bristol Rovers into promotion favourites.

Hill will come up against Barton this evening at Glanford Park as the two do battle in League Two this evening.

His side are battling for their lives at the foot of the table, currently second from bottom and six points adrift.

Rovers meanwhile are 11 points clear of the drop zone, as well as the same amount of points off a play-off spot.

The Gas’ ambitions though are to go on a run to mount a promotion push and this is something that tonight’s opposition manager believes will happen.

Commenting on Rovers, Hill said to Scunthorpe’s website, he said: “They’ve been in transition for quite a long period of time and I’ve only really played them in League One, where they were still heavy spenders at that level.

“For me, I think Joey (Barton, manager) over time will put them in a situation where they’re promotion favourites, but sometimes relegation can de-stimulate a group and cause a bit of unrest. I’m sure Joey will get there eventually though."

Scunthorpe manager Keith Hill thinks Joey Barton is the man to leave Bristol Rovers forward. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)Scunthorpe manager Keith Hill thinks Joey Barton is the man to leave Bristol Rovers forward. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Scunthorpe manager Keith Hill thinks Joey Barton is the man to leave Bristol Rovers forward. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Ahead of the match, the 52-year-old believes that he is capable of masterminding a surprise result over Rovers.

The Lincolnshire side have lost four of their last five matches and are without key personnel due to injuries and suspensions.

Rovers meanwhile are unbeaten in their last three matches, including wins over Hartlepool and Rochdale, as well as a draw at play-off chasing Swindon.

"I’m feeling optimistic, positive and looking forward to it, going into the game with a lot of belief that we’re capable of not just challenging Bristol Rovers but overcoming them.

"It was a game that has been rearranged having previously been called off due to Covid, but it’s one I’m really looking forward to, even though we’ve got a depleted squad going into it. It creates an opportunity for us as a football club and for the players to test ourselves over 90 minutes.

"Those are the challenges and they need to be met by the group of players, myself and all the staff.

"It’s amazing what happens when you get that little bit of confidence and self-belief, but you’ve got to fight for it and we really have to fight and dig deep, but to do that we need a little bit of luck as well."

Forward Ryan Loft makes his return to the club where he played a season-and-a-half and he will be hoping to get off the mark this evening.

Scunthorpe’s front-line though has taken a hit with Harry Bunn out for six to eight weeks with a calf injury.

Midfielder Hayden Hackney meanwhile is out of the match after being found guilty of spitting at an opponent.