MX23RW : Friday, June 25 00:57:53| >> :600:1419202:1419202:
Mar 23, 2021 at 7pm UK at Memorial Stadium
Bristol RoversBristol Rovers
SwindonSwindon Town

Upson (21'), Williams (76')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Payne (71')

Preview: Bristol Rovers vs. Swindon Town - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's League One clash between Bristol Rovers and Swindon Town, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two teams fighting for their lives at the foot of the League One table prepare for battle on Tuesday evening as Bristol Rovers take on Swindon Town at the Memorial Stadium.

Both teams have accumulated 34 points from 36 games this term, with 19th-placed Swindon one spot above their midweek hosts after beating them 1-0 earlier in the season.

Match preview

Joey Barton in charge of Fleetwood Town on September 8, 2018© Reuters

In typical Joey Barton fashion, the Bristol Rovers manager did not hold back when analysing his team's defeat to an out-of-form Plymouth Argyle at the weekend, as Niall Ennis struck a brace to leave Barton's men with a mountain to climb in order to preserve their League One status for another campaign.

Barton likened Bristol Rovers' fight for survival to "climbing Everest" and affirmed that any "passengers" in the Memorial Stadium ranks will not survive this relegation dogfight - such is the congested nature of the bottom half of the table - as this week's hosts are only above the bottom four on goal difference, with 23rd-placed Wimbledon boasting a game in hand.

With a measly three wins to boast from their last 18 matches, Bristol Rovers simply have to find some sort of inspiration from anywhere on the pitch in order to avoid the drop to the fourth tier, although their home form is actually rather encouraging heading into the visit of Swindon.

Indeed, the Pirates' trio of victories in their abysmal run have all come on home soil and they have taken seven points from the last nine on offer at the Memorial Stadium - as well as losing just one of their last five - so Tuesday's visit of Swindon could provide Bristol Rovers with the perfect opportunity to play their way into Barton's good books and give their survival hopes a much-needed boost.

John Sheridan pictured in charge of Wigan Athletic in November 2020© Reuters

Swindon hardly have more to boast about than their hosts do, but John Sheridan at least witnessed his side end their four-game losing run and climb out of the drop zone by overcoming Barton's former team Fleetwood Town on Saturday.

After taking zero points from their first four games of the month, Scott Twine repaid his manager's newfound faith in him with both goals on the day as Swindon won away from home for the first time in over two months, but they are far from safe and seem destined to scrap with their relegation rivals until the conclusion of the campaign.

Swindon and Bristol Rovers both boast an identical tally of 34 points and a goal difference of -22 heading into Tuesday's bout, but Sheridan's men have never seemed to lose their shooting boots and boast more goals than Barton's side, although the 65 they have conceded at the wrong end of the pitch is the second worst in the league behind basement side Rochdale.

Incredibly, Saturday's 2-0 victory at Fleetwood represented Swindon's first away clean sheet of the season, and they ought to feel confident about their chances of making it two on the bounce against an equally out-of-sorts Bristol Rovers, especially seeing as they overcame the Pirates 1-0 earlier in the campaign.

However, the visitors have not claimed all three points on Bristol Rovers' turf in League One since 2008, although they did prevail 4-2 at the Memorial Stadium in the 2017-18 EFL Trophy campaign, and another goal-laden performance from Sheridan's men would do wonders for their survival hopes.

Bristol Rovers League One form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L

Swindon Town League One form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

Team News

Bristol Rovers' Alfie Kilgour celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Bristol Rovers will be boosted by the return of Joe Day for this game after the goalkeeper served a suspension against Plymouth, and the Cardiff City loanee should demote Jordi van Stappershoef back down to the bench.

Barton has also revealed that another one of his shot-stoppers in Anssi Jaakkola is nearing a return from an Achilles problem, but he is not back in full training yet and is unlikely to be ready for this bottom-of-the-table battle.

Max Ehmer and Zain Westbrooke were both hooked at half time against Plymouth and could find their spots under threat here, but wingers Sam Nicholson and Alex Rodman are not expected to be involved.

One dampening aspect of Saturday's win for Swindon was the injury to Jordan Lyden - who lasted 12 minutes as a substitute before having to come off with a hamstring issue - and it would be a shock to see him recover in time for this crunch match.

Sheridan rang the changes for the weekend's victory, which all paid dividends, and 36-year-old Lee Camp should retain his place in goal after keeping a clean sheet on his debut.

Conor Masterson, Mathieu Baudry, Ezekiel Fryers and Jonathan Grounds complete a quartet of defensive absentees for the visitors, but it would have been a surprise to see any of them force their way into the team here.

Bristol Rovers possible starting lineup:
Day; Williams, Kilgour, Baldwin, Leahy; Upson, McCormick, Ozturner; Westbrooke; Hanlan, Daly

Swindon Town possible starting lineup:
Camp; Grant, Odimayo, Landolo; Caddis, Palmer, Missilou, Thompson; Payne, Twine; Pitman

SM words green background

We say: Bristol Rovers 1-2 Swindon Town

Despite their wholly inconsistent form, Bristol Rovers have actually managed to grind out results on home soil and will surely be viewing this game as a prime opportunity to boost their survival hopes at the expense of their opponents'. Swindon are almost always suspect at the back, but they will have their tails up after a morale-boosting win at Fleetwood, and we are backing Sheridan's side to keep the momentum going with another hard-fought win at the Memorial Stadium.

Top tip

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