Slips by Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley show that Bristol Rovers have a huge role to play in the showdown

It may seem like Bristol Rovers have little to play for in the last nine games of the League One season other than picking up a few more points to secure their place in the division for next year, but Joey Barton and the performances of his Players in the match will play a decisive role elsewhere.

A look at Rovers’ fixture list from now until the final day on 7 May shows a schedule loaded with some of the toughest tests saved for last. Five of the top seven remain to be played and 16th-placed Port Vale, one place below Gas, are the only team below them in the table left to face.

Such difficult assignments on paper, including top two Plymouth Argyle and Sheffield Wednesday, along with a couple of disappointing results at home to Wycombe Wanderers and Portsmouth before an unusual 20-day break, have left some Gasheads fearful of where the fans will come from. next points. with a third level status that is not completely safe within your grasp.

But three games in the space of four days have summed up the unpredictability of this division. Most punters would have had the Owls nailed to back-to-back wins from a double header in Gloucestershire against Forest Green Rovers (24) and Cheltenham Town (17) on Sunday and Wednesday, but they returned to Yorkshire with just one point. by virtue of a late equalizer after going down 2-0 at Whaddon Road on Wednesday night.

Interspersed between those games was a trip to Exeter City for fourth-placed Barnsley, who were heavy favorites at St James Park but were handily knocked out in a 3-1 defeat against a team who are destined for a comfortable half-final. the board.

With April almost upon us, it’s the time of the season when nerves become a factor; composure and confidence fade as the finish line comes into view, particularly with little to separate the top four and three teams vying for the bottom two playoff spots.

“We’ve always said it’s going to be easy,” manager Darren Moore told Yorkshire Live on Wednesday after drawing with Cheltenham. “We’re in the mix and now. There’s still a lot of football to play and that’s against all sorts of teams with something to play for.”

Barnsley boss Michael Duff spoke of a reality check after being handed off at Exeter, ending a long unbeaten run. “It could be the warning shot we needed,” he told the Barnsley Chronicle. “We may not be the team we thought.”

The stakes are high and strange things will start to happen, and although it didn’t go as expected, the Gases are locked in the promotion battle until the end of the season.

Barton spoke in frustration at his final news conference before Gas went on hiatus for the international break, which was extended due to Plymouth’s participation in the Papa John’s Trophy final at Wembley this weekend. The coach longed for the end of the season.

“I’ll be honest with you, I wish it was the end of the season,” Barton said after a 2-0 loss to Portsmouth on 18 March. “We can’t really get promoted, it doesn’t look like we’re going to get into the relegation battle. I’ve gotten to the point where you want to set targets for next year. There’s nothing worse with nothing to play for with nine games to go. final”.

Well, if Barton is lacking in motivation, which is hard to believe given his fierce competitive streak, which has no doubt been renewed by a break from routine and a family getaway to Dubai, then surely the role of killjoy or kingmaker is on. something you would enjoy?

A poor run at the start of the year dragged the Gases out of playoff contention and the shifting narrative from dark horses to also rans will certainly have stung, but Rovers still have a say in who wins the promotion race. .

Next up for Gas are duels with mid-table teams Charlton Athletic and Fleetwood Town over Easter before back-to-back games at the Mem against Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday, two fixtures that will have serious ramifications in the race for automatic promotion and top six, particularly if Gas can upset the odds.

Table of Contents

Bristol Rovers’ last nine games

  • Charlton Athletic – H (April 7)
  • Fleetwood Town-A (April 10)
  • Derby County – H (April 15)
  • Sheffield Wednesday – H (April 18)
  • Port Vale – A (22 April)
  • Plymouth Argyle – A (25 April)
  • Peterborough United – A (29 April)
  • Shrewsbury Town – A (2 May)
  • Bolton Wanderers – H (May 7)

And in the final fortnight of the campaign, Plymouth, Peterborough United and Bolton Wanderers will be desperate for points to reach their goals. However, Shrewsbury Town may have slipped out of contention after the defeat and are back nine points, albeit with one game to go.

Rovers, of course, still have some work to do to ensure that relegation-threatened Accrington Stanley and Morecambe cannot catch them at the end of game 46, but they have to believe they have more to play for than that.

For the sake of next season and summer recruiting (a better league finish will make the Mem a more attractive destination for potential signings), the Gas is due more than quietly limping over the line. Barton will want them to create as much noise and chaos as possible for League One hopefuls.

REGISTER: To receive our free Rovers newsletter, with the latest from Mem



Leave a Reply