BRISTOL Rovers are the team under the microscope for today’s ’23 in 23’.
WHEN DO WE PLAY THEM?
Home: Saturday 13 October
Away: Tuesday 1 January
The club was formed in 1883, and in 1889 they became Bristol Rovers. They became members of the Football League in 1920.
In the 1989-90 season, the Gas won the Third Division. They won the League Two play-off final in 2007, the National League play-off in 2015 and were promoted from League Two in third place during the 2015-16 season.
The club’s all-time leading scorer is Geoff Bradford, who scored 242 league goals between 1949 and 1965.
Bristol Rovers finished 13th in the 2017-18 season, just a point off a top-half finish. Their 16 wins from 46 games was the joint-highest for any side in the bottom-half of League One, while their 60 goals scored was higher than 15 sides in the division and the second-highest in the bottom-half.
However, the 66 goals that they conceded was only better than two teams outside of the bottom four, something which they will be looking to tighten up in the new season.
The Memorial Stadium was opened in 1921. It has a capacity of 12,300 and is 122 miles from the Pirelli Stadium, which is around two and a quarter hour in a car.
Darrell Clarke, 40, has been at the helm of Bristol Rovers since March 2014. Rovers were relegated from League Two with just two wins from Clarke’s eight matches.
Then, in the National League, Clarke won 25 of his 46 games in-charge, losing just five on the way to a second-place finish and a place in the play-offs.
Rovers won both legs of their play-off semi-final and the final itself to regain their place in the Football League. However, they were not done there as they stormed through the fourth-tier, winning 26 games and amassing 85 points on their way to automatic promotion.
Clarke’s two seasons in League One have seen him guide the Pirates to 10th and 13th place finishes. Clarke has not managed less than 59 points in any of his four full seasons in-charge of Rovers.
Strengthening the midfield has been the focus for Bristol Rovers so far this summer. Ed Upson has arrived from recently relegated MK Dons, having scored three and assisted six in 37 League One games last season.
The 28-year-old has more than 200 third-tier games to his name, scoring 11 and assisting 31 during his career. He is also not short of higher level experience, having featured in 60 Championship games across spells at Yeovil Town and Millwall.
Young midfielder Sam Matthews, 21, has joined from Bournemouth. He scored six goals and assisted eight in 39 National League games while on-loan at Eastleigh.