PREVIEW: Argyle vs Bristol Rovers
The Pilgrims are back at Home Park this weekend following two narrow defeats on the road, taking on Westcountry rivals Bristol Rovers in Sky Bet League One.
The Greens put in a battling display at Milton Keynes Dons in midweek, and looked to have secured a hard-earned point at Stadium MK, only to be denied a draw by a last-minute Scott Fraser penalty.
Joey Barton’s Rovers currently lie in 19th position in the League One table, with one win in their last five. Like Argyle, the Gas also suffered heartbreak last time out, surrendering a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 against Charlton Athletic at the Valley.
A Luke Leahy penalty in the 18th minute gave the visitors the lead, before Ed Upson doubled the advantage on 32 minutes with a long-range strike that deceived the goalkeeper.
Andrew Shinnie’s smartly-timed finish for the Addicks got them back in the game, before Jake Forster-Caskey’s exquisite free-kick tied things up before the break.
A third goal for the Addicks came with just over five minutes of the game remaining, before things got worse for Rovers, with goalkeeper Joe Day dismissed for bringing Chuks Aneke down outside the area as Charlton broke clear in the dying stages.
In our reverse league fixture at the Memorial Stadium in December, the Pilgrims suffered a 3-0 defeat the Memorial Stadium, despite creating plenty of opportunities.
Two set-piece goals from Alfie Kilgour and Luke McCormick separated the two sides ahead of the break, before Zain Westbrooke consolidated the three points for the Pirates in the 85th minute.
For Rovers, ‘keeper Day will not be available following his dismissal on Tuesday, while regular custodian Anssi Jaakkola is still on the comeback trail from long-term injury. In their absence, goalkeeper Jordi van Stappershoef is likely to deputise in goal.
Alex Rodman is an injury doubt for the Gas, having been substituted in their 0-0 draw against AFC Wimbledon before playing no part in the defeat at the Valley in midweek. Former Pilgrim loanee Josh Grant is also a doubt through a foot injury that has seen him absent for Rovers’ last three games.
For Argyle, there are no further injury concerns, with George Cooper and Gary Sawyer Argyle’s only reported absentees.
ARGYLE AT HOME TO BRISTOL ROVERS IN THE EFL
The record: P 45 W 23 D 15 L 7 F 88 A 54
The first time: 30 April, 1921. Division Three. Argyle 2 Bristol Rovers 1
Bob Jack’s Pilgrims got revenge for their 0-2 defeat at Eastville seven days earlier by beating Rovers 2-1 at Home Park in our first-ever home meeting. Jimmy Logan scored both of our goals.
The last time: 23 March, 2019. Sky Bet League One. Argyle 2 Bristol Rovers 2
Derek Adams’ men twice surrendered the lead and ended up having to settle for a point in a 2-2 draw with Graham Coughlan’s Pirates.
Portuguese Ruben Lameiras gave Argyle the lead with a fine finish on 51 minutes. Rovers’ danger man Jonson Clarke-Harris equalised after 72 minutes witha 20-yard screamer. The visitors’ defender Tony Craig restored our lead by heading Lameiras’ 75th minute corner into his own net. However, Rovers substitute Gavin Reilly’s glancing header rescued a point for his team in injury time.
Biggest win: Argyle, under joint managers Neil Dougall and George Taylor, thrashed Rovers 5-0 on 15 April, 1961 in Division Two. Braces from Wilf Carter and George Kirby together with a goal from Peter Anderson saw the Greens go nap.
Most goals in a single game: Eight, in a 5-3 Division Two win for Jack Rowley’s Pilgrims on Saturday, 5 December, 1959. Wilf Carter with a brace, Peter Anderson, Reg Jenkins and Bristol born Johnny Williams were our scorers.
Saturday's Sky Bet League One game kicks-off at 3pm, and is available to stream live on iFollow Argyle. Click here to purchase your pass.