PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers v Wanderers

Wanderers finish their 2022/23 Sky Bet League One regular season with a trip to Bristol on Sunday to face Rovers.

With their place in the end-of-season promotion play-offs already secured, Ian Evatt's side head to the Memorial Stadium with just their final position in the table and play-off semi-final opponents to be determined.

The Whites know that victory in Bristol will assure them of a fifth-place finish, and a two-legged tie against Barnsley. The side that finishes sixth will play Sheffield Wednesday.

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Manager quotes

Ian Evatt:

“We want to finish the league as high as we can and that is fifth. Hopefully we can do that and then we can move onto the play-off games. But our full focus is on Sunday’s game and hopefully we can get the right result.

“The players have been very good this week in remaining focused and keeping the intensity high in training. We’re ready for Sunday and very much looking forward to it.

“One or two have carried slight knocks and niggles, nothing serious or major, but we will make sure we freshen them back up this weekend for the future games to come.

“I believe every team I can select out of the squad of players I’ve got will be competitive and good enough to win football matches. We’ve seen that with the Papa Johns Trophy and we’ve seen it with the league campaign when we’ve made changes.

“I have a massive amount of faith in them all and hopefully we can get the result we want on Sunday and then take the form into the play-offs.”

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton:

"They (Bolton) are a good side We know from going up there earlier in the season that they are a good side. I will pick as strong a team as I can. We will see where the bodies are.

"You want to see where you are compared to those top chasing sides. We’ve done really well against the better teams. It’s the lump-it teams that we struggle against so we are going to have to change that next season.

"Hopefully, we can cause Bolton some problems on Sunday. They’ve got one eye on what’s to come and we might just catch them but we’ve got to be at our best, certainly better than we were at the start of each half on Tuesday."

Team News

There is positive news for Wanderers as Ian Evatt confirmed that Ricardo Almeida Santos is in contention to play at the Memorial Stadium this weekend.

The Whites' skipper has been on the sidelines since picking up an injury following Wanderers' win at Wembley, but his return to the squad comes at the perfect time ahead of the play-offs.

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Evatt also confirmed that Jack Iredale and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson may also return to training next week.

However, the boss will not risk anyone carrying slight knocks at Bristol and may make changes to keep everyone fit and firing for the play-offs.

Bristol Rovers will continue to be without Luke McCormick, with boss Joey Barton confirming that the midfielder will miss this weekend's game due to problems with his wisdom teeth. 

Barton will also be without Josh Grant, who he hoped to have back for this weekend. However, he suffered a small setback in training that rules him out of the game this weekend. 

Form guide

Wanderers secured their place in the top six with a confident and controlled 2-0 victory over Fleetwood Town last weekend, making it just one defeat in their last nine games.

Ian Evatt's side will look for another positive result on Sunday afternoon to build on as they head into the end-of-season play-offs as they seek a 14th away league win of the season. 

The Gas come into this game on a run of six games without victory, but will be looking to finish the season in style in front of their own supporters. 

Sitting comfortably in mid-table, Barton men's know that victory, coupled with results elsewhere, can push them to a 14th place finish in their first season back in the division. 

Officials:

Referee: Will Finnie

Assistant referees: Dean Treleaven, Steven Rushton

Fourth official: Samuel Fudge

Kick-off:

Sunday, 12pm

Coverage:

Watch the the game live via BWFC iFollow with a £10.00 match pass which can be purchased HERE

Read Time: 4 mins