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by The Rovers Review

After scraping a 1-0 victory last week against Colchester, Rovers head on the road for the first time this month with a trip to Blackpool.

Worrying injury news is that our top scorer so far of the season, Andy Williams, has been ruled out for 8-10 weeks with an ankle injury. As a result, Liam Mandeville will probably keep his place in the squad, and as Ferguson has said, "this is the best opportunity he'll get", so he's going to have to take it. If Mandeville doesn't start scoring, Ferguson could look to the fellow younger players, such as: Alfie Beestin and Will Longbottom (who are primarily attacking midfielders) can play upfront.

Darren Ferguson has also ruled out including Dany N'Guessan in his squad, following William's injury, and has also added N'Guessan is close to leaving the club by mutual consent.

Frazer Richardson will be pushing for a start, as his contract is about to be extended until January 2017 to fill in for the injured Mitchell Lund, but Richardson himself is recovering from injury and he is probably around the same stage as fellow right back Craig Alcock.

Mathieu Baudry will also be pushing for a start after coming on as a sub in the previous couple of matches, and has really impressed, so the pressure is on both Butler and Wright to continue to perform, but mainly Joe Wright.

Blackpools' main goalscoring threat comes from Brad Potts, who is their top goalscorer, with 4 goals to his name so far this term.

Last time we faced Blackpool was in March 2016, where we undeservedly lost 0-1 by conceding a last minute goal. Previous to that, our last visit to Bloomfield ended with a deserved 0-2 victory, with goals from both currently injured players: Andy Williams and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair.

Overall, since 1901, Rovers have won only 10 of 45 games v Blackpool, drawing 12. So all-in-all, quite a poor record, but with Rovers now undefeated in our last 5 games in all competitions can we make it 6 to continue to close-in on top of the league Plymouth?

Predicted lineup v Blackpool

Marosi; Mason, Wright, Butler, Evina; Houghton, Rowe, Blair, Coppinger; Mandeville and Marquis.
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by The Rovers Review

After making it 3 out of 3 against Barnet last week Rovers look to make it 4, against fellow ex-league one counterparts Colchester United.

Team news for this weekends home match v Colchester United is that star man, Andy Williams is out after suffering a last second injury v Barnet last week, resulting in his foot swelling.

However, as we lose one striker, another returns; John Marquis is set for a return straight into the starting 11 after serving his one match suspension last weekend. Meaning Liam Mandeville could keep his place in the team again, but this time alongside John Marquis. I believe that Marquis is something we was missing last week, but I just hope his suspension hasn't affected his momentum of his performances.

Frazer Richardson will remain out, meaning Niall Mason may keep his place at right back, but Craig Alcock will be pushing even further to a start as he continues his recovery from injury.

Mathieu Baudry will be another player looking for a start this week. The 28 year-old French defender made his home league debut for Rovers last weekend, coming off the bench, and Ferguson was full of praise for him after the match, so could he be tempted to revert back the controversial 3-5-2 with Wright, Baudry and Butler at the back?

Colchester United haven't won a match for over month, with their last victory coming on the 10th September with a 3-2 win v Blackpool. Players to watch for Colchester are: Chris Porter and Sammie Szmodics, who have scored 4 and 3 goals respectively so far this term.

Last time we met Colchester was in March this year, where we got humiliated 4-1 away. That result played a pivotal part in our drop into league two; a goal from currently injured Gary McSheffrey was the only silver lining from that game.

Overall Rovers have beaten Colchester 21 times since 1958, losing just 18. Hopefully, we don't suffer a humiliating defeat just like back in March, but I'm quite optimistic about this game, only thing on the downside is that we won't have Andy Williams - how much will we miss him?
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by The Rovers Review

After beating promotion rivals Portsmouth last weekend, and beating Derby's U23 team this week on penalties, Rovers look to make it 3 out 3 with the visit of Martin Allen's Barnet to the Keepmoat Stadium.

Keegan, Baudry and Mason are all in contention for a start after returning from injury and all completing 90 minutes v Derby midweek. Ferguson has said that Niall Mason can play right back, so we can presume he'll start Mason there, and push Blair back into midfield.

Craig Alcock is picking up his tempo in training, which could mean he'll be back into contention in a few weeks. Unfortunately Frazer Richardson has been ruled out for 2 weeks, meaning by time he is match fit again his contract may be up at Rovers.

Gary McSheffrey and Mitchell Lund are both out for longer periods than first thought, with McSheffrey out for up to 16 weeks and Lund might not be back until the new year.

John Marquis will miss this weekend's match due to suspension after he picked up 5 yellow cards, but Liam Mandeville did enough in midweek to warrant a starting place next to Andy Williams, after scoring Rovers first goal on Tuesday night and also having many more opportunities too. Alfie Beestin is another who impressed on Tuesday, after creating chances and assisting in Mandevilles' goal.

The last time Rovers faced Barnet was way back in 1998, where we suffered a 0-2 defeat at Belle Vue. Our last win v Barnet came in April 1996, so lets hope 20 years on, we can get our first win against them at the Keepmoat.

Overall, Rovers have won 3 out of 12 games v Barnet since 1991, with five of them games ending in draws.

Predicted lineup v Barnet

Marosi; Mason, Wright, Butler, Evina; Houghton, Blair, Rowe, Coppinger; Mandeville and Williams
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by The Rovers Review

After beating promotion favourites on Saturday, Rovers look for a quick turn around as Derby's reserves visit the Keepmoat this Tuesday evening.

Team news wise, Darren Ferguson said after the Portsmouth game that he will be looking to give game time to players who haven't had a lot or have been injured.

Frazer Richardson is a doubt after coming off v Portsmouth on Saturday with an injury and, judging by what Ferguson said post-match, it doesn't look like Richardson will be staying after his contract has expired in a few weeks.  

I would expect the following players would come into contention for this game: Etheridge, Mason, Baudry, Garrett, Middleton, Beestin and Mandeville.

John Marquis will more than likely start; being suspended for the upcoming league two fixture against Barnet Ferguson would look to give him game time this Tuesday so he doesn't lose any match sharpness.

Gary McSheffrey won't be close to starting due to being set back on his recovery, but Craig Alcock could come into contention for being on the bench, because he was reportedly at the same recovery stage as Niall Mason was.

I would opt to not involve Alcock, because I think that when he does come back he is going to be a vital part in our defense; right-back seems to still be a weak area of our team with all three right-backs out and Matty Blair having to constantly drop into right-back (not that I'm saying Blair isn't doing a good job, but I think he's more useful to our team attacking wise).

With this being the first time our senior team have met Derby Countys' U23s in a professional match there is no history between the two teams, but I expect that we'll confidently win, especially with there being a number of players in our team, such as Mathieu Baudry, who will want to impress, so that they can have a valid argument for breaking into the first team when the chance arises.

Predicted lineup v Derby County U23s

Etheridge; Mason, Baudry, Fielding, Garrett; Middleton, Calder, Longbottom, Beestin; Mandeville and Marquis.
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by The Rovers Review

After not winning our last two games, in a frustrating manner, we head to promotion favorites, Portsmouth, for our latest Sky Bet League Two fixture.

After last weeks game, it's hard to predict what changes Ferguson may make, because at times we seemed to have lacked energy, especially after the game changing penalty miss by Tommy Rowe.

Injury wise, I don't think they'll be any changes, because Niall Mason and Craig Alcock are only in the early stages of their rehabilitation.

I think Alcock is something we're missing right now, because we are conceding a few too many goals for my liking, so I'm very excited to see a defense with him in it.

Also, I think we could do with the likes of Gary McSheffrey, because I feel towards the end of the last two big games that we've already played (against Luton and Carlisle), we've lacked energy going forward, and I feel that if McSheffrey was fit, he would of added that bit of extra pace going forward, that we needed towards the end.

One thing is for sure however, and that is that we need to win this game, because we haven't won in our two previous games, and they have both been our toughest tests yet, so I think a win at Pompey on Saturday will send a massive statement out to league two.

Rovers will face their former three players for the first time on Saturday with: Enda Stevens, Kyle Bennett and Curtis Main now all playing their football. I would've thought Stevens and Bennett will start, but Main is mainly being used as in impact player, and has managed to net just two goals in league two from ten games.

Portsmouths' biggest goal threat, however, comes from midfield, in the form of Gary Roberts, who is their top goal scorer, scoring six goals in ten games.

The last time that we faced Pompey was in March 2013 at home where we drew 1-1 with Chris Brown giving us the lead early in the first half.

We have a lot more luck against them too, because we have won 10 out of 16 games against Pompey, but most of them haven't been comfortable wins, because we've won games by 4-3 or 3-2, and I don't think anything will change this Saturday either, I can see it being a really tight game.

Predicted lineup v Portsmouth
Marosi; Blair, Wright, Butler, Evina; Houghton, Middleton, Rowe, Coppinger; Marquis and Williams.

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