PREVIEW: Wanderers v Bristol Rovers

It’s Friday night football as Wanderers play their first home league game in more than a month.

The Whites will be looking to kick the weekend off in winning style and further cement their place in the top six.

Bristol Rovers head north on the back of a shock FA Cup exit but going well in the league under former top-flight midfielder and Fleetwood boss Joey Barton.

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Manager quotes

Ian Evatt: “The players seem in a really good place and we’re looking forward to Friday, getting back in front of our home fans and putting on a performance.

“I love the atmosphere on night games, Friday-night lights and all that.

“The atmosphere is always great on these evening fixtures, so we will prepare as we always do and we’re looking forward to a really good game against a good opponent.

“I think they’ve given a great account of themselves so far this season.

“We know all too well that being a newly-promoted team in this division is really challenging and difficult.

“They carry some good attacking threats and Joey is a winner. He’ll be smarting after Sunday and certainly will have them highly motivated to play us on Friday.

“For us it’s a process and we have to focus on our own performance levels and if we get to the levels I believe we can get to then it gives us a good chance of winning the game.”

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Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton:

“I think they (Wanderers) are a really good side. A nice big stadium – a favourite ground of mine.

“I made my debut there in the Premier League (for Manchester City in a 2-0 loss in April, 2003) and I’m looking forward to going back and finding out where we are and how respond to the disappointment of Sunday.

“We’ll have different options available in terms of team selection. We’re hoping for a clean bill of health and put right the poor performance on Sunday.”

Team news

Wanderers will be without Kyle Dempsey with an ankle injury sustained in last week’s Papa Johns Trophy win Barrow.

The midfielder is set for up to four weeks on the sidelines as he hopes for a Christmas-time comeback.

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Defender Will Aimson is back in training but not expected to feature yet, while wideman Lloyd Isgrove is a week away from fitness following a hamstring injury.

Rovers have had a bout of illness in the camp, with striker Ryan Loft a doubt out of the trip to the UniBol.

Forward John Marquis and midfielder Jordan Rossiter were among those to miss last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Boreham Wood but could return.

Experienced club captain Paul Coutts and winger Harry Anderson are set to remain sidelined through injury after being out since October.

Form guide

Wanderers have won their last two games in League One and the Papa Johns Trophy and have lost just two of their last nine matches in all competitions.

In the league, Ian Evatt’s men have won three and drawn one of their last five games and will be seeking a seventh home win of the season which could lift them to fourth in the table.

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Rovers’ FA Cup exit at home to Boreham Wood last Saturday ended a four-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

After a tough start to the season following promotion, the Pirates have lost just one of their last nine league games to climb away from the foot of the table and up to 15th place.


Referee: Robert Lewis

Assistant referees: Nik Barnard and Billy Smallwood

Fourth official: Martin Coy


Friday 7.45pm


All Wanderers’ games in the run-up to Christmas during the World Cup Finals – including the fixture against Bristol Rovers – are available to watch live on iFollow with a £10 video match pass. To buy go HERE

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