The sirens will have gone off sooner than expected as the Rovers visit Oxford United to take part in a 12:30 p.m. first whistle. However, the situations of both teams are significantly different from the previous time Rovers visited the Kassam Stadium.
The previous year, the Gas won 3-0 over a U’s team that nearly avoided relegation and Joey Barton’s side went on a winning streak of two tournament games. Roughly eight months following that, United, currently supervised by Liam Manning, are now second in the Championship after winning eight of their first ten league games, although the Gas has also enjoyed a respectable start with the possibility of being promoted to push the goal inside the camp.
This afternoon’s accomplishing will be a second opportunity to pick up three points before a two-week break after Exeter City’s scheduled home game against the team next Saturday has been rescheduled owing to worldwide call-ups. Although it is a painful setback for Rovers, who have won three of their previous four league games, it will give a few more players the chance to make their injury comebacks at a time when Barton’s squad is almost completely empty.
The 3-0 win over Port Vale on the previous night was an achievement with the right instructions, but the Gas manager was unable to select a complete replacement bench due to new problems. However, skipper Sam Finley is anticipated to return, and more returns are anticipated for the following away game against Burton Albion in a couple of weeks.
Barton decided to put forward four substitutions, some of which were compelled to make and others were done for the sake of rotation despite only being permitted to name six replacements. Luke McCormick and Jevani Brown, two of the four modifications, scored on the night, demonstrating the versatility of Rovers’ lineup.
Brown, the running back who was expected to be given a run for his money due to Luke Thomas’ hamstring damage, stood out, as did Chris Martin, particularly given the fact he hadn’t played football since May and had been available in free agency throughout the latter part of the season and into the fall.
Possibilities are now limited, indicating that modifications would be minor for an excursion to Oxford United, but how will the Gas begin at the Kassam Stadium?
Defense and goaltender
Matt Cox has kept a pair of clean sheets in his past four league matches and has been called up to the England U21s for the first time in his career. He will surely start in goal for the 11th time in Tournament One. The Brentford loanee has proved brilliant at the very beginning of his campaign at the Mem and definitely merits the praise gained on a worldwide scale, rising throughout the Three Lions’ junior systems.
Additionally, it’s a true testament to the 20-year-old when you consider the entire team and some of the incredible players Cox is now considering employees.
With no defending returnees, Barton’s situation remains relatively simple. A back four consisting of Harvey Vale, Josh Grant, Connor Taylor, and Jack Hunt will likely play in the present match, the fourth in a row in the league, and the group has performed wonderfully, especially given that half of the players are out of the area.
In addition to that, it’s unknown where Give prefers to play, with the 24-year-old favored at center-back far more than the central defensive abilities that have been credited to him.
As for Vale, the Chelsea loanee is playing out of position as well but his brilliance at the left-back position has earned him a chance to start regularly in the middle of the field, and the 20-year-old needs enormous credit for managing to make viewers forget that he’s actually a defensive midfielder.
Taylor put in a different authoritative performance at the back on the previous day, while Hunt provided support with a goal and a goal-scoring opportunity for the club’s second home game in a straight, burying what would have been a poor performance against Peterborough United over the weekend. He currently shares the tie for the team’s lead with Aaron Collins, Scott Sinclair, Luke Thomas, Luke McCormick, and John Marquis for his team.
Center-backs Although George Partner is back on the playing field and will offer the Rovers boss an alternative choice to make following the international period over, James Wilson and Tristan Crama will probably find it impossible to be declared sufficiently healthy for their journey to Burton at the earliest opportunity.
A midfield trio is nevertheless expected since Barton has no apparent justification to abandon the 4-3-3 formation, which has been beginning to pay off in the past couple of weeks. However, selecting employees carefully might be challenging.
The initial squad that played Port Vale had Antony Evans and Sam Finley replaced by Luke McCormick and Ryan Woods, leaving Lamare Bogarde as the lone surviving player in the center of the park from the 2-0 loss against Peterborough. Finley is probably going to be back for Oxford, but it feels inappropriate to put him right back in the lineup for the opening game.
In the meantime, McCormick had a successful night on Tuesday by scoring his second tournament goal of the season, which now forces Barton to make a choice because the 24-year-old is undoubtedly the player closest in age to Evans, who was cut, from the lineup. Whether it was a tactical or cyclical move, McCormick has a good argument to maintain his spot in the team.
Woods may consider himself incredibly unfortunate to have lost his starting spot before Tuesday, as the Hull City loanee impressed in the metronome position, maintaining the game moving along while displaying remarkable control. Possessing the Englishman’s expertise in the midfield is unquestionably a plus. He is 29 years old and has made hundreds of Championship outings.
Although we presently anticipate a constant midfield, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some alterations.
Chris Martin’s performance against Port Vale received considerable praise from Barton, who was especially kind given that he had been out of the game for close to a five-month period.
It is a big ask for the 34-year-old to start another contest in five days, but there are only so many resources accessible up front, and Marquis could be out for the rest of October with a cracked hand. The sooner he scores, the more comfortable he will be, but in order to be fair, the former Bristol City player appeared to be very sure of himself on the playing field on Tuesday thanks to some exquisite touches and helpful hold-up play.
Scott Sinclair could be able to fill in on the left side of the field with Collins and then lead the attack if the former Scotland international does require a break. It’s a good backup option to have as the 34-year-old is unquestionably dissatisfied with his scant amount of playing time so far this season.
The winger started just one tournament game after scoring twice in each of the first three games, but he has since contributed some significant contributions from the bench. like might be a mixture if it appears like Martin will have difficulty restarting.
With the possible exception of the striker, it is virtually inevitable that both Collins and Brown will start once more, with Brown making a fantastic debut for Rovers on Tuesday night. Although there is certainly space for development, it was exactly what Gasheads have been waiting for from the warmer months acquisition who unquestionably has the talent to keep improving and once again be among the top performers in the conference this season.
Collins will be disappointed to have gone two matches without a goal after scoring in back-to-back victories against Shrewsbury Town and Wigan Athletic, but he’ll believe his chances later after scoring on the previous occasion he appeared at the Kassam Arena.
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