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Whelan starts: The predicted Bristol Rovers XI to face Scunthorpe on Saturday

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Bristol Rovers could secure their promotion back to the third tier of English football at the first time of asking tomorrow as they take on relegated side Scunthorpe United.

Coming into this tie at the Memorial Ground as underdogs for automatic promotion with Northampton Town having a superior goal difference, Joey Barton’s men will just need to focus on themselves going into this match, something that could potentially work in their favour.

The Cobblers may be heading to another struggling side in Barrow at the weekend – but the latter have the home advantage going into this tie and Phil Brown’s side will be upbeat after managing to secure their safety.

Quiz: Which club did Bristol Rovers sign these 24 players from in the 1990s?

1 of 24

Tony Pounder

This will give Rovers a lot of hope going into this game – but they will need to win all three points if they want to give themselves the best possible opportunity of avoiding the lottery of the play-offs.

Visitors Scunthorpe can play with freedom with their relegation confirmed, though they can’t seem to buy a win at the minute and won’t exactly be favourites to come out on top this weekend either.

Focusing more on the home side though during what could be a monumental day in their history, we have chosen the starting lineup Barton may go with ahead of this fixture.

Although they conceded three at Rochdale last weekend, James Belshaw wasn’t really at fault for any of the goals and as one of the first names on the teamsheet, he has to start once again.

There is one change in the backline with Nick Anderton coming in for Josh Grant who didn’t have his best game at the Crown Oil Arena and was substituted in the first half after sustaining an injury. Even if he is fit, Anderton has to be the man to come in to shake things up.

Hopefully, Connor Taylor is fit to start too after coming off last week, though that may have been a tactical decision from Barton with the promotion chasers needing to push forward at that point. Luca Hoole and James Connolly also start in the backline.

Glenn Whelan comes in for the suspended Paul Coutts after seeing his red card appeal rejected, a big blow for Rovers who will now be without him for the remainder of the campaign regardless of whether they reach the play-offs or not.

Sam Finley put in a decent performance in his last outing and Antony Evans proved to be a real difference-maker too, so the midfielder duo have to start together once more.

They will also be hoping to see Elliot Anderson in top form after taking his goal tally to seven last week – and Harry Anderson retains his place on the opposite wing as he looks to play an integral role once more.

Up top, it has to be Aaron Collins after seeing him score a wonderful hat-trick, managing to bounce back following a poor run of form in front of goal and silence his critics.

If he can take confidence from that going into tomorrow, you would certainly back him to be on the scoresheet once again this weekend.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Whelan starts: The predicted Bristol Rovers XI to face Scunthorpe on Saturday

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