THERE may be nearly 130 miles between the two clubs, but Argyle manager Derek Adams expects a derby-like atmosphere when they visit Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
Two of Sky Bet League 2’s form teams meet at the Memorial Stadium this weekend, as the league-leading Greens head to a side who most recently knocked off Oxford United to rise to fourth in the table. Whilst the away record of Rovers may be better than their indifferent home form, Adams knows first-hand about the threat the hosts will pose to Argyle.
“Bristol Rovers are a team that got promoted out of the Conference last year and performed really well this year,” said Derek. “They’ve picked up a good number of points and are going to be good opposition.
“I was at the game last week against Oxford, and they had a very good performance, and they’ve been able to come away with a very good three points against a team who is near the top of the table.
“They’ve worked really hard and they’ve got themselves into an excellent position. Bristol Rovers came here and played well in the 1-1 draw that we had here. They’ve performed exceptionally well this season, after getting promoted through the play-offs.”
That 1-1 draw at Home Park exemplified the close nature of the two sides’ meetings in recent years. In the last 19 fixtures between the Pilgrims and Rovers, both sides have won six games, drawing the other seven.
Adams is looking to swing that statistic in Argyle’s favour, and with the Green Army’s allocation of tickets sold out in extremely quick fashion, the boss is preparing for quite the atmosphere on Saturday.
“It’ll be a interesting match,” said Derek. “It’s always going to be that when the two teams are so local.
“It’s going to be a very good local derby. It’s a difficult venue to go to. The crowd are very intense behind the goal and in the stands, so it’s going to be a good derby game, so to speak.
“I think any game at Bristol Rovers probably feels like a derby match, because the fans are right on top of you. They make it very intimidating for both sets of players, so we’ll go there and try and win the match.
“They’re always very vocal, our away supporters, and they’ve supported the team exceptionally well away from home this season. They’ll do that on Saturday.”