We return to league action after two cup games. Darrell Clarke takes the Valiants to the Memorial Stadium where he had a very successful period in charge.
In the Dugout
Ex-Premier League midfielder Joey Barton is in charge at Bristol Rovers having joined in February of this year. Barton’s managerial career began at Fleetwood Town in 2018 before departing three years later. He would only spend a month out of work before joining Rovers but failed to keep them in Sky Bet League One last season.
Man with the Armband
Scottish midfielder Paul Coutts captains the Pirates. He spent his youth career at Aberdeen before moving to Cove Rangers in 2005. Three years later he travelled south of the border to join Peterborough United. He went on to play for Preston North End, Derby County, Sheffield United, Fleetwood Town and Salford City on loan before joining Rovers this past summer.
Coutts has made 18 appearances in all competitions claiming one assist, four yellow cards and one red. He was sent off in the opening game of the season away to Mansfield Town in a 2-1 defeat. He has made 14 consecutive appearances, not including the Papa John’s Trophy, coming into this game.
Connor Taylor began his youth career at the Valiants before joining Stafford Rangers and later Stoke City. He remains at the Potters and is currently on loan at Rovers. He has also spent loan periods at Ashton United and Chester.
The defender has played 21 times for the Pirates scoring once and picking up two yellow cards. His one goal came away at Walsall where he scored an equaliser before Rovers won the game late on 2-1. Like Coutts he has had a long run in the side playing 19 games in succession, apart from the Papa John’s Trophy.
26-year-old Sam Nicholson has scored five goals for the Pirates in all competitions. In the last two league games Nicholson has played, he has scored. Both games finished level against Salford City and Tranmere Rovers.
Last time out and recent form
Rovers have won two, drawn two and lost one of their last five games. They lost to league leaders Forest Green Rovers in their last league games. As mentioned, they drew against Salford and Tranmere. One of their wins was in an Emirates FA Cup replay against Sky Bet League One opposition Oxford United before beating Sutton United in the second round.
Neither the Pirates or Sutton were able to break the deadlock in the first half but seven minutes into the second and the team from London took the lead through Will Randall. Just five minutes later Aaron Collins brought Rovers level from the penalty spot. On the hour mark Rovers got the winner thanks to Nick Anderton to get them through to the third round.
The Memorial Stadium has a capacity of 12,300 and was opened in 1921. The opening was dedicated to the memory of fallen rugby union players in the First World War. Bristol Bears played here from 1921 until 2014 before moving to Ashton Gate, the home of Bristol City. A service is held every Remembrance Sunday at the memorial gates.
How to get there
East, West, North by car
Whether you're coming from east or west exit the M4 at junction 19 and join the M32. Travel along the M32 for 3.1 miles until you reach junction 2. Here, exit the motorway and take the third exit signposted Horfield and Southmead and follow the road through a division and a roundabout both of which have clear signs reading "The Memorial Stadium". Once through this area you join Muller Road and you should continue to drive along it for 1.4 miles until you come to signal-controlled crossroads. Signposted right is Horfield Health Centre and Library. At this junction ignore the sign and turn left into Filton Avenue where the ground is located almost immediately on the left.
South by car
Exit the M5 at junction 16 signposted A38 Thornbury and Filton. At the roundabout head right signposted A38 Filton and join the A38. Travel along the A38 (Gloucester Road) for 4.3 miles as you enter the outer suburbs of Bristol. On your trip you'll pass Filton Airport on your right, the Royal Mail sorting office and the Royal George and Wellington pubs. At a set of traffic lights immediately past a small shop called Satellite Warehouse and before a timber outlet take an un-signposted left turn into Filton Avenue where you'll see the ground is on your right after just a couple of dozen yards.
The car park at the Memorial Stadium is completely sold out for the entire season.
You'll be extremely lucky if you can find a space on Filton Avenue unless you arrive a couple of days in advance. All of the areas around the ground are residential and you'll have to battle for spaces with the locals as well as other home and away fans and police cones. With very few exceptions, finding a space within a five to ten-minute walk is relatively easy - parking on Muller Road is a popular choice as is Gloucester Road although this is often more difficult. If Muller Road and Gloucester Road are busy then there are many other roads across the other side of Gloucester Road- travel past the Wellington pub along Kellaway Avenue and you'll find another area of roads often used for matchday parking.