Where are they now? The Bristol Rovers team to last play Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough

What became of the last Bristol Rovers XI to play at Sheffield Wednesday in a 6-2 defeat Hillsborough?
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Bristol Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday play in front of the Sky Sports television cameras at Hillsborough in League One on Wednesday evening.

Meetings between the Owls and the Gas hasn't been a regular thing with the two teams separated by two divisions over the last decade. Rovers' promotion to the third tier and Wednesday's play-off failure has meant that the two are in action this evening in South Yorkshire.

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Tonight’s match sees Wednesday in third place whilst Rovers are in 14th with 11 places separating the two sides. It's been 11 years and 10 months since Rovers last played at Hillsborough which was when Wednesday were in the third tier but battling for promotion like they are now.

Rovers had started brightly with Will Hoskins opening the scoring in the seventh minute but they were blown away by the quality of Alan Irvine's side. Chris Sedgwick equalised and then Tommy Miller put the hosts in front before Gary Teale and Jermaine Johnson netted to make it 4-1 inside the first 32 minutes of the game. Hoskins scored his second goal of the match but that would ultimately be a consolation goal with James O'Connor and Paul Heffernan compounding the misery. It was a result which put Rovers second in the standings whilst Rovers were in 21st.

A 6-2 defeat isn't something that many people want to remember but given how long it's been since the last visit. We take a look at the last XI to represent Bristol Rovers at one of Sheffield's biggest football grounds.

Mikkel Andersen

Andersen had two separate loan spells at Rovers, first joining in the 2009/10 season where he became first-choice. The on-loan Reading goalkeeper rejoined the next summer and ended up making 58 appearances in total and won the Young Player of the Year award for his time at the club.

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He returned to the Royals in January 2011 and had one more English loan with Portsmouth, before returning to native Denmark with Randers. He has since been back in Denmark and has played for four more clubs, including two spells at Midtjylland.

The 33-year-old has gone on to play in the Europa League and the Champions League, but is now the back-up goalkeeper at Viborg.

Gary Sawyer

Sawyer had a 19-year long career in the Football League which was mainly spent in Devon with Plymouth Argyle. The 37-year-old departed Home Park in June 2010 and opted for the Mem despite a short spell at rivals Bristol City.

He went on to make 69 appearances across two seasons for the Rovers, joining Leyton Orient in 2021 before a return to Plymouth where he wound down his career. He retired in May 2021 due to injury and now works as part of the Pilgrims’ academy set-up.

Danny Coles played for both Bristol City and later Bristol Rovers (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images)Danny Coles played for both Bristol City and later Bristol Rovers (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images)
Danny Coles played for both Bristol City and later Bristol Rovers (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images)

Danny Coles

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Bristol-born defender Danny Coles began his career at Bristol City and spent six years there before leaving for Hull City. Rovers signed Coles from Hull in 2007 initially on loan but later ended up signing a permanent deal. Coles would go on to play and score against Fulham in the FA Cup and made over 100 appearances in total. He departed for Exeter City in 2011 and spent three years there before retiring with Forest Green Rovers.

He now works as an FA intermediary, helping players in the Bristol area with career advice.

James Tunnicliffe

James Tunnicliffe joined Rovers on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion in 2010 and went on to make 25 appearances in total. He joined Wycombe Wanderers permanently  and later Stockport County with his career ending in the non-league with Stalybridge Celtic.

Byron Anthony

Anthony began his career with Cardiff but left without making a league appearance and so he joined Rovers in 2006. Then Newport-born centre-back spent six years at the Mem, making 190 appearances in total for the club and so would have been a part of the League Two play-off winning side. He had a loan spell with Hereford United in 2012 and later joined them permanently but the club would go out of existence shortly and so he joined his hometown team Newport County before finishing his career. Anthony is now at the club working as the academy manager, which is a huge role as he tries to provide Joey Barton with some homegrown talent.

Chris Lines is a hero in the eyes of Bristol Rovers fans. (Image: Getty Images) Chris Lines is a hero in the eyes of Bristol Rovers fans. (Image: Getty Images)
Chris Lines is a hero in the eyes of Bristol Rovers fans. (Image: Getty Images)

Chris Lines

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Lines was an academy graduate at Bristol Rovers and spent seven years as a player there, featuring in the play-off win and the FA Cup run. After relegation to League Two in 2011, Lines departed and joined tonight’s opponents Sheffield Wednesday for a reported fee of £50,000 and started brightly. Lines played regularly but later moved to Port Vale for a season-and-a-half.

A return to Rovers came when they were at their lowest in the Conference Premier and helped the club get over the line as he scored in the play-offs. Lines spent four years at the club before departing for Northampton Town and later Stevenage, scoring a goal against the Cobblers last season, to help Rovers in their automatic promotion bid. Lines is now playing in the National League South with Bath City, returning to Twerton Park, where he had watched Rovers as a supporter.

Stuart Campbell

Campbell took caretaker charge of Rovers but was unable to keep the club up. Paul Buckle was appointed as the new manager and saw no future for him at the club and he was released in December 2011. Campbell headed to the United States and signed for Tampa Bay Rowdies, who he would later go on to manage.

Jeff Hughes

Jeff Hughes’ start to life at Bristol Rovers started off badly as he got injured in a reserve team game and returned to parent club Crystal Palace after joining on loan. It didn’t deter rovers from signing him permanently and he went on to make 129 appearances, the most for any club in his career, scoring 29 goals. He joined Notts County after leaving Roers in 2011 and later played for Fleetwood Town, Cambridge United and Tranmere Rovers before signing for his current club Larne.

Wayne Brown

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Another player who had a short loan spell at the club and later joined on a permanent basis. He actually made his debut in the professional game against Rovers in an FA Cup defeat for Fulham in January 2008. Brown joined on loan and made four appearances in a one-month loan spell but he was recalled. He returned to the club on a free-transfer and signed on a two-year deal and performed well.

His two years came to an end and he joined TPS in Finland and later SJK, before a spell with A-League side Newcastle Jets. Brown’s last professional club was Sutton United after joining them following two-years in Australia. He played for Walton Casuals, a non-league team on loan but hasn’t played since.

Will Hoskins

Another player who had a previous meeting with Rovers and later signed for them. He scored an 88th-minute winner against the Gas for Premier League outfit Watford in August 2008, and later had a loan spell with Nottingham Forest, helping them to win promotion from League One. Hoskins had scored goals in the third tier and joined Rovers in June 2010, boasting a respectable goal scoring return but suffered an ankle injury.

He didn’t stay for more than a season and joined Brighton & Hove ALbion for an undisclosed fee and  later Oxford United and Exeter City, before dropping in the non-league with Hemel Hempstead and Australian side Northcote City. Hoskins is still playing now and is at Kings Langley as a player-coach.

Jo Kuffour

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Jo Kuffour joined Rovers from AFC Bournemouth in 2008 and spent years at the club in what was his best goal scoring return with 32 goals. He finished as the clubs top scorer in the 2009/10 season but had a loan spell at Gillingham which worked out and he joined them on a permanent basis. Kuffour joined Wycombe Wanderers and spent two years there and then joined Sutton United, where he retired. The 40-year-old finished his career with 101 goals in 460 matches.

Kuffour now works as a marketing consultant and partner in a gym.

John Akinde

A controversial signing given he was signed on loan from inter-city rivals Bristol City. Akinde’s time at Rovers was short and he played 18 times, failing to score once and instead finished the season with Dagenham & Redbridge. Akinde joined Crawley and later Portsmouth, before spells with Alfreton, Barnet, Lincoln City and then Gillingham. Akinde is now at Colchester United but hasn’t scored in 10 League Two appearances.

Ben Swallow

Welsh-born Ben Swallow began his career at Bristol Rovers and spent six years in total at the club. Swallow had 49 appearances and two goals in the three seasons as a senior player. He departed for York City and later joined Newport County, Bromley and Dartford.

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The 33-year-old has since played for several teams outside the National League set-up and was at Merthyr Town last season.

Charlie Reece

Charlie Reece began his career at Rovers after coming through the Aston Villa academy. He later was thrust into the first-team and played there for five years, making 40 appearances. Paul Buckle told him he was no longer required at Rovers and he had loans at Gloucester City and Tamworth before leaving to sign for Worcester City on a permanent basis.

After leaving Rovers as a 25-year-old, he changed career and worked as a Sales Manager at RNP Steels in Birmingham. Reece is now based in the United Arab Emirates and is Head of Business Development.

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