Bristol Rovers fan Stuart Matthews gives us his view on what has been going on at the Memorial Stadium this season.
How has your season gone so far?
We started terribly, got better, but we’ve been hit hard by injuries and too many games in quick succession since Christmas, and I think we’ve left ourselves with far too much to do to even threaten the play offs.
What’s your current form like?
Unbeaten in two! (both creditable draws) but before that we lost two on the bounce and overall we’ve been defending very badly since Lord Byron Anthony got injured at Walsall at Christmas.
Would you say that the JPT, especially with a local derby, is a distraction to the league?
Possibly, but beating City and getting to the final would be the best thing to happen to Rovers in a decade, so its worthwhile. If we lose on Tuesday, I might have to rethink that appraisal!
Rickie Lambert is an ex County player, and had very indifferent seasons in the County shirt. What have you made of him so far?
You were lucky to get indifferent seasons out of him, he’s been dreadful for us. He probably won’t start tomorrow, as Stuart Nicholson has done well when he’s come off the bench in the last two game. Lambert isn’t helped by the fact that both he and Richard Walker are fairly similar and there’s no pace up front when they play together, but that doesn’t excuse Lambert’s largely shambolic performances.
Who have been your key players this season?
Steve Phillips (best keeper outside the Championship), Byron Anthony (who we have badly missed since he got injured) and Stuart Campbell (who has been immense since being given the captain’s armband after James Hunt spat his dummy out when he got dropped earlier on in the season)
Are there any key players out that would normally feature?
Other than Byron Anthony (centre-back) and Ryan Green (right-back) we’re more or less at full strength. Aaron Lescott should be familiar to you, he’s been filling in at right back lately (not his best position!)
Do you have any memories of Stockport County?
First game back in Bristol in August 1996, in typical Rovers fashion we managed to put the goalposts up too high at one end. Both teams scored at that end in a 1-1 draw and its been suggested that neither goal would have gone in in a ‘proper’ goal.
Where should County fans go before the game?
Lots of pubs on Gloucester Road, take your pick of any of them!