Scouting report: Bristol Rovers

A closer look at the Pirates ahead of Wanderers' first ever trip to The Memorial Stadium

Ahead of Wanderers' trip to Bristol Rovers on Wednesday night, take a closer look at Darrell Clarke's side...

Sealing back-to-back promotions in the past two years to reach the third tier from the Vanarama National League, Bristol Rovers have enjoyed a quiet summer in the transfer market so far with Peter Hartley, Byron Moore and Luke James their only new additions, as manager Darrell Clarke kept hold of the majority of his squad that won promotion.

Clinching automatic promotion on the final day of last season on goal difference alone, the Pirates are unbeaten at home since November 2015 having 15 of their last 16 home matches at The Memorial Stadium.
Despite suffering defeat on the opening day of the season against Scunthorpe United, they maintained that home run in their last outing by dispatching Oxford United to pick up their first three points of the 2016/17 Sky Bet League One campaign.

Having also beaten Sky Bet Championship side Cardiff City in the EFL Cup, Bristol Rovers will be full of confidence as they look to continue their form in front on their home fans against Wanderers on Wednesday night. 

• L 1-5 - Swansea City H - (Pre-Season Friendly, 23/7/16)
• L 3-0 - CE Sabadell A - (Pre-Season Friendly, 26/7/16)
• W 3-0 - Cheltenham Town H - (Pre-Season Friendly, 31/7/16)
• L 3-1 - Scunthorpe United A - (Sky Bet League One, 6/8/16)
• W 1-0 - Cardiff City H - (EFL Cup, 11/8/16)
• W 2-1 - Oxford United H - (Sky Bet League One, 14/8/16)

Previously serving as John Ward's assistant manager at Bristol Rovers, Darrell Clarke has led the club to back-to-back promotions from the Vanarama National League since taking over as the Pirates' manager in March 2014.

A midfielder during his playing days, the 38-year-old enjoyed permanent stints with Mansfield Town, Hartlepool United and Salisbury Town before taking his first steps into management with the latter as player-manager at the start of the 2010/11 season.

Twice overseeing promotion with the club, he left the club to join Bristol Rovers in June 2013, but was unable to help them avoid relegation in his first months as manager after taking over towards the end of the season.

Bouncing back to secure an immediate return to the Football League via a penalty shoot-out National League Play-Off Final victory over Grimsby Town in his first full campaign in charge, Clarke then oversaw another promotion last year as a late push from Bristol Rovers saw them clinch their place in the third tier on the final day of the season.

Arriving at Bristol Rovers in July 2014, Matty Taylor's goal for the Pirates over the past two seasons have proved vital to the club clinching back-to-back promotions.

Starting his career with Oxford United, the forward enjoyed prolific permanent stints with both North Leigh and Forest Green Rovers before Darrell Clarke brought him to the Memorial Stadium.

Initially slow off the mark as he went eight games without a goal following his move to the club, the 26-year-old finished the campaign with 20 goals, including one in both legs of their play-off semi-final victory over former club Forest Green, as Bristol Rovers won promotion back to the Football League courtesy of a penalty shoot-out victory over Grimsby Town.

Sky Bet League Two's leading goalscorer last year, he fired a further 28 goals in all competitions as Bristol Rovers clinched automatic promotion to League One on the final day of the season on goal difference alone.

Already off the mark this year, Taylor scored in Bristol Rovers opening day defeat against Scunthorpe United, before coming off the bench to score the winner against his former club Oxford United last time out.

LAST BRISTOL ROVERS XI (v Oxford United, W 2-1)
Mildenhall, Brown, Lockyer, McChrystal, J.Clarke, O.Clarke, Lines, Montano, Easter (Harrison 58), Bodin (James 66), Gaffney (Taylor 58).

Tony Philliskirk was on the scoresheet the last time Wanderers faced Bristol Rovers back in January 1990. The frontman scored the only goal for the Whites as Phil Neal's side fought out a 1-1 draw away at the eventual Third Division champions.

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