Bristol Rovers team news vs Plymouth Argyle: Ex-Celtic winger Scott Sinclair a substitute

1 month ago BristolWorld

Like-for-like replacements and a slight tinker in formation for the match against Plymouth

Joey Barton has made two changes from the side that thumped Cheltenham 4-1 last Saturday, with the visit of Plymouth Argyle.

Club captain Paul Coutts doesn’t feature in the matchday squad at all, being replaced by Harry AndersonLuca Hoole also re-joins the starting 11, swapping in for James Gibbons, who is named on the bench after impressing on his return from injury.

Ahead of the visit of the table-topping Pilgrims, there looks to be a change of system. Barton deployed a 4-3-1-2 formation in the win over the Robins, but has moved to the slightly more defensive formation of 4-3-3 with one forward.

Luca Hoole starts as a right-back with Lewis Gordon on the opposite flank with Bobby Thomas and Lewis Gibson as the centre-backs. It’s a midfield three of Antony Evans, Sam Finley and Jordan Rossiter, with the latter sitting out the win over Swindon Town.

Harry Anderson also returns to the fold after his sublime goal in the victory over Swindon Town in the Papa Johns Trophy on Tuesday. Anderson scored the second goal to all but secure the win and is one of the players that has forced his way into the starting eleven. Top scorer and top assister Aaron Collins is on the left-hand side and Ryan Loft leads the line as the lone striker.

New signing Scott Sinclair only features on the bench after signing on a free transfer after being released by Preston North End. If the ex-Chelsea and Man City winger enters the pitch today it will be 17 years and 302 days between his last two appearances in blue and white.


Rovers fans will be anticipating Sinclair to feature at some point, after his manager revealed he was fit to play a part in the match. His fitness has been praised and a 25 to 30 minute cameo could be in the offing.

Amongst the substitutes are Anssi Jaakkola, the aforementioned Gibbons and Sinclair, as well as on-loan Middlesbrough striker Josh Coburn. Luke McCormick who scored in midweek is on the bench along with the returning Harvey Saunders, after serving a suspension.

The change to wingers may be an effort to counter Plymouth’s preferred system of 3-4-3 that focuses primarily on getting the ball out to their wingers, including September’s League One Player of the Month, Morgan Whittaker.

Rovers will also need to be wary of Fin Azaz, a man Joey Barton admitted to trying to sign on-loan this summer. Barton held a Zoom conversation with him but the 22-year-old opted to join the Devon Side. The Aston Villa loanee netted twice in his last league game and is a man-in-form.

Bristol Rovers (4-3-3): James Belshaw, Lewis Gordon, Bobby Thomas, Lewis Gibson, Luca Hoole; Sam Finley, Jordan Rossiter, Antony Evans; Harry Anderson, Ryan Loft, Aaron Collins.


Subs: Anssi Jaakkola, James Gibbons, Harvey Saunders, Luke McCormick, Scott Sinclair, Trevor Clarke, Josh Coburn.

Plymouth Argyle (4-3-2-1): Michael Cooper, Bali Mumba, James Wilson, Nigel Lonwijk, Joe Edwards;Adam Rendell, Jordan Houghton, Brendan Galloway, Morgan Whittaker, Finn Azaz; Nial Ennis.
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