Where Bristol Rovers are predicted to finish this season with early season expectations not met

The Gas have improved as of late but their late push towards the play-offs may not be enough for their end of season goal
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Bristol Rovers will fall short of their play-off ambitions according to a supercomputer that has predicted the outcome of the season.

That is the view of FiveThirtyEight.com, a football data which compiles statistics and make predictions based on a rhythm of results, Joey Barton’s side will finish 11th come May.

They say that from now until the end of the campaign, Rovers will pick up 27 points from the 57 that are on offer from their remaining 19 games, that’s a whole thirty points dropped.

They have less than a 1% chance of being runner-up, as well a 1% chance of taking a final promotion spot. They have been given a 6% chance of finishing seventh.

Their final points tally of 64 would also be less than what current league leaders Forest Green Rovers are on now with the Nailsworth predicted to add a further 38-points, giving them a 93% chance of winning League Two.

That points tally of 64 would see them fall eight points short of a play-off place with former boss Darrell Clarke taking Port Vale to that final elusive spot.

A season of consolidation isn’t the end of the world, given the upheaval in the summer that saw many first-team players depart after relegation from League One.

But given the early season talk of bouncing back from relegation straight away, then it may be frustrating that they aren’t at least in the promotion picture.

Though Rovers have a squad capable of reaching the top seven and should they miss out then they may face a difficult task of holding on to their better players with a few out of contract come this summer.

As to how the website gets its data, they look at individual games and results and say that football is a low scoring sport, so some teams will have a period of luck, despite playing poorly. At times in Rovers’ recent run of form they were fortunate to come away with maximum points, such as the wins against Hartlepool United and Walsall.

To make up for the randomness of the results, they assess teams on their quality of play and use adjusted goals, shot-based expected goals and non-shot expected goals. The simulation is done about 20,000 times and then they take an average of that.

Based on their findings, Forest Green will win the division and will be followed up by Tranmere Rovers and Northampton in the automatic promotion spots. Mansfield Town, Exeter City, Sutton United and Port Vale will then contest the play-offs for the fourth and final promotion spot.

It is why Rovers will want to defy these predictions and defy their own fate by making as strong as a push as possible for that top seven spot.

Tuesday’s defeat against Oldham Athletic brought to an end a good run of form and now they will want to put things right against Nigel Clough’s Mansfield Town.

Mansfield though are trickier opposition as they are currently in fifth whilst relegation threatened Oldham weren’t in the greatest form.

They have suffered just one defeat in their last ten matches and that was to Championship outfit Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, so they will prove tough opposition when they visit the Memorial Stadium on Saturday.