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BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Bristol Rovers v Swindon Town
SWINDON TOWN will be targeting their biggest victory of the season so far as they travel to face Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium in League Two tomorrow. Total Sport Swindon’s Ryan Walker previews the M4 derby as Ben Garner’s Robins attempt to keep their unbeaten away record intact.
Having done the league double over Bristol Rovers last season - albeit in League One and inside virtually empty stadiums - Swindon Town will be hoping to replicate the same set of results as they make the trip to Bristol to take on Joey Barton’s Rovers.
A typical fiery encounter has been made all the more entertaining given that Garner was ousted from his role at Bristol Rovers by current manager Joey Barton before he took the reigns at Swindon Town to become the club’s first Head Coach under new owner Clem Morfuni.
Both side’s have endured relatively mixed starts to the season with just 3 points separating Swindon (9th) and Bristol (18th) in the League Two standings with both side’s having won the same amount of games so far this season (3).
Ben Garner has difficult team selections to make with the Swindon Head Coach declaring he has a fully fit squad for the first time this season as Harry McKirdy, Jonny Williams, and midfielder Anthony Grant all become available for selection.
In contrast, Barton will be without a host of key players with Leon Clarke, Trevor Clarke, Sammy Nicholson, and Sam Finley all remaining sidelined with injuries, however former Swindon Town striker Brett Pitman is set to feature for his new club.
Despite injuries, Bristol will be hoping to put a dent in Swindon’s unbeaten away record and will be encouraged by their home form at the Memorial Stadium having won twice there so far this season.
Both teams lack of goals could lead to a relatively tight encounter tomorrow with Swindon and Bristol scoring more than 1 goal in a game just once this season. However, boosted with the return of attackers Jonny Williams and Harry McKirdy, Swindon will be confident of capitalising on their impressive goalless draw with Colchester last weekend that saw Garner’s side dominate in every attacking statistic.
Previewing their trip to Bristol Rovers, Garner said:
"It's been a bit up and down, Bristol have a big and talented squad and I'm sure they will be looking to improve on the start to the season that they have had so far,” he said.
“We are concentrating on us and not looking outside these four walls. Our focus is squarely on us and we have no concerns what other team's are doing.”
"As a derby game the supporters give it that extra spice and it will be a great atmosphere with our big away following as well. We are already working at the maximum for every single game in our preparations, the fact that it's a derby game will give us an extra edge tomorrow.”
“Our supporters have been fantastic in driving us on but we have to show that on the pitch. We have to challenge that passion but in the right way because if we get too emotionally invested then it can damage a performance. We want fire in the heart but ice in the veins,” said Garner.
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