Oldham Athletic v Bristol Rovers Match Preview 08.02.2022

League Two, Tuesday February 8, 7.45pm, Boundary Park

The Gas will look to continue their fine form on Tuesday night when they head north to face Oldham.

Joey Barton’s men collected a creditable point from a weekend trip to promotion-chasing Sutton United, with a late penalty converted by Antony Evans earning Bristol Rovers a 1-1 draw.

That made it six games unbeaten for Gas as they hunt down the play-off places. The matches are now coming thick and fast with a midweek slate of fixtures next on the schedule.

Team news

Goalkeeper James Belshaw missed the Sutton game with a minor knee problem and he is not expected to be fit to take on Oldham.

Anssi Jaakkola is in line to deputise for Belshaw again – the Finland international was at fault for Sutton’s goal, but made amends with some big saves.

Leon Clarke and Ryan Loft are expected to be out for a couple of weeks longer, so they will not be in Barton’s squad for the trip to Boundary Park.

Alfie Kilgour is a while away from being back and Sam Finley is rated as being touch-and-go, but Evans appears to be good to go despite limping off the pitch at full-time against Sutton.

Barton could hand his recent loan signing Elliot Anderson a first start after the young midfielder impressed off the bench at the weekend. Glenn Whelan could be the man to make way.

The form book

Oldham’s 1-0 weekend win at bottom side Scunthorpe United gave the Latics hope they can produce a great escape from relegation, but they remain in deep trouble as the weeks tick by.

John Sheridan is back in charge for Oldham, with the boss returning for a sixth stint at the club.

The Latics have focused on improving a leaky defence in recent weeks, having had a wild 5-5 draw at home to Forest Green Rovers in the middle of December.

They have kept four clean sheets in their past five League Two fixtures, so despite Oldham sitting 23rd it will not be straightforward for Barton’s side to find a way to break them down.

The Gas have only won once on the road in the league since October, but they have only been beaten in one of their past nine trips away from the Mem, so their away form has been solid.

Head to head record

Rovers have a strong historic head to head record against the Latics and they won the reverse game back at the start of the season at the Mem. Harvey Saunders scored in a 1-0 victory.

Oldham only managed to beat Rovers once in the seven previous meetings between the sides.

Opposition player to watch

Carl Piergianni’s defensive displays have played a key role in Oldham’s recent improvement.

The 29-year-old has also chipped in with three goals and three assists from the back. Even if the Latics are relegated, Piergianni has surely done enough to stay in the Football League.

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