Bristol Rovers could be set to welcome back three key players from injury for their six-pointer against Northampton Town on Saturday, according to manager Joey Barton.
The Gas picked up a crucial three points in their fight for survival on Monday, defeating promotion-chasing Doncaster Rovers 2-1 at the Memorial Stadium thanks to a Luke McCormick brace.
That result wasn’t enough to take Rovers outside of the relegation zone as they sit in 21st position in League One, but it moved them level on points with Swindon Town (although they have a game in hand) and just two points behind Saturday’s opponents.
And Barton could have a major selection dilemma with three first-team regulars set to return from spells on the sidelines this week.
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“We need all hands on deck,” Barton said, per the Bristol Post.
“We hopefully have Alex Rodman back for the Saturday game, we hopefully have Alfie Kilgour and Josh Grant back for Saturday’s game.”
Kilgour has been a mainstay at the back for Rovers for the last few months, but has missed their last two games an ankle issue but it looks like it will be shaken off for the weekend.
Rodman has been out of Rovers’ last six matches with a muscle injury and he would give Barton another option at wing-back, whilst Grant has been a regular this season, usually in the engine room, suffered a setback with his foot but could be ready for Saturday.
Barton needs all the senior players he can get his hands on for the last few games of the season in order to save his team’s skin, and this trio of potential returns is massive.
Saturday will likely be a dogfight with a team who will probably be happy with a point, but as Rovers showed on Monday, they’ve got enough to mix it with the big boys in the league.
Now they’ve got to show they can sweep aside the lowly teams as well – they’ve lost to Wigan and Swindon in recent weeks so something’s clearly still not clicked in that respect and Barton needs to get it right before the Gas get dragged into the mire even more.