This Week's Opposition: Bristol Rovers

Photo Credit: Bristol Rovers FC

The Blues got back to winning ways on Tuesday night with a 3-1 victory at snowy Accrington. They’ll be looking to record back-to-back away wins this weekend when they travel West to take on Bristol Rovers.

Earlier in the season in the reverse of this fixture, it was Pompey who came away victorious with a 3-1 win at Fratton Park.

Time now to take a closer look into The Gas, John Mousinho’s latest test.

MANAGER

Former Manchester City, Newcastle and Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton remains manager of Bristol Rovers.

The 40-year-old, who also featured for Marseille, Burnley and Rangers throughout a 15-year playing career littered with controversy, was announced at the helm of The Gas in February 2021, having started his career in the dugout with Fleetwood Town in the summer of 2018.

Although Rovers were relegated under Barton that campaign, the hothead remained in charge for the following term in League Two and the club’s faith in him was ultimately repaid, with promotion straight back up into the 3rd tier confirmed on the final day of last season.

Since arriving, Barton has overseen 46 wins from 117 competitive games in charge.

ONE TO WATCH

As with most times Pompey come face-to-face with a player formerly in their books, our One To Watch this weekend is striker John Marquis, who had 2 spells with the Blues.

One of those was a loan move from Millwall in 2013 and the other a permanent transfer from Doncaster Rovers in 2019 - The second coming of Marquis to PO4 was not as successful as some may have hoped given a superb record with Donny, as he converted just 28 goals from 93 competitive appearances.

Marquis has been given the number 9 shirt by Joey Barton at Bristol Rovers and has this season bagged 7 goals in 26 league opportunities, scoring a brace in their 3-1 victory at Forest Green Rovers last weekend.

TOP SCORER

Welsh forward Aaron Collins is currently Bristol Rovers’ leading scorer this season with 15 league strikes under his belt at this stage of the campaign.

Although the Rovers number 10 has not contributed to any goals in other competitions this season, the 25-year-old has been impressing his supporters not just for his goal conversion record in the league but also for his work to help his teammates.

Throughout this League One campaign, the former Newport and Forest Green striker has also provided a staggering 12 assists, more than any other player in the division.

CURRENT FORM

After these 2 sides locked horns at PO4 back in August, Rovers boss Joey Barton promised local media that his side would finish above Portsmouth this season - Barton was not a fan of Danny Cowley’s tactical setup following that 3-1 win for the Blues.

Although the management position has changed for Pompey since then, Rovers have so far been unable to live up to Barton’s expectations - They occupy 14th position heading into this weekend’s round of fixtures, 4 places and 9 points behind the Blues.

Whilst relegation seems likely to be avoided upon the club’s immediate return to League One, the form of this Bristol Rovers side has been very random and it’s proving quite difficult to determine from one week to the other what kind of team could show up on any given day.

They have, in their last 10 league outings, secured victory just twice, whilst recording 2 draws and 6 defeats.

The Gas have collected 24 of their 45 points on the road this term, whereas their home form replicates that of a side battling for survival.

Who will come out on top in this one? Will it be 2 wins from 2 this week for the Blues or back-to-back defeats for The Gas, following their midweek loss at home to Wycombe?

Tune in for all of the unmissable action on Pompey Live, this Saturday (March 18th) from 2pm - Robbie James, Jake Smith and Jay Sadler will be providing full build-up, half-time analysis and post-match reaction LIVE from the Memorial Stadium. (3pm kick-off)

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