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Match Previews

Match preview: Bristol Rovers v Morecambe

2 September 2022

The Shrimps are back in Sky Bet League One action on Saturday 3 September when they take on Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Ground.

In midweek, Derek Adams’ side defeated Everton U21s 7-6 on penalties in the first Papa John's Trophy Northern Group A game. The cup clash ended 3-3 after 90 minutes with Jensen Weir, Caleb Watts and Farrend Rawson on the scoresheet at the Mazuma Stadium. 
Attention returns to the league campaign as the Shrimps look to bounce back from Saturday’s 4-0 home defeat against MK Dons. 
Since 2011, Morecambe have played Bristol Rovers on eight occasions and Saturday’s hosts have largely had the upper hand with five victories and one draw. The Shrimps have won two of those meetings.
The opposition
The Gas won promotion to League One in dramatic fashion on the final day of the 21/22 League Two season. Rovers overcame a five-goal swing to clinch the third promotion space away from Northampton Town on goals scored after blowing Scunthorpe United away by seven goals to nil.
Bristol Rovers sit 15th in the table with two wins, one draw and three defeats so far this season. They are without a win in four, in all competitions, and most recently fell to defeat on penalties in midweek against Plymouth Argyle in the Papa John’s Trophy. 
Merseyside-born Joey Barton has been in charge at the Memorial Stadium since February 2021. His first task was to save the club from relegation, but they couldn’t avoid the drop to League Two. The Gas bounced back last season and Barton was rewarded with a three-year contract extension. 
The 39-year-old, who played as a midfielder for a number of clubs including Manchester City, Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers and Burnley, began his managerial career with Fleetwood Town from 2018 until 2021. 
Key players
Centre-forward John Marquis joined the Gas this summer and netted his first goal for the club as they defeated Oxford United. The 30-year-old came through the academy at Millwall. He scored 61 goals in 134 games for Doncaster Rovers and 28 goals in 93 appearances for Portsmouth before joining Lincoln City where he spent the second half of last season. 
As well as providing the most assists so far this season for Rovers (two), former Morecambe man Aaron Collins also leads the goalscoring table for the Gas to-date, having scored four goals, all of which have come in the league. The striker scored eight goals in 15 appearances for the Shrimps between February and May in 2019. The 25-year-old, who came through the youth setup at Newport County, joined Bristol Rovers in June 2021.
24-year-old Ryan Loft has scored two goals in as many games for Rovers, against Shrewsbury Town in League One as well as against Plymouth Argyle in the Papa John's Trophy. The striker joined the club from Scunthorpe United, where he scored 15 goals in 62 appearances across all competitions, in January 2022 for an undisclosed fee. Predominantly a centre-forward, Loft, who in attacking-midfield and on the left-wing, spent his youth career with the likes of Dartford FC, Ebbsfleet United and Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur. 
Shrimps’ pre-match thoughts
Ahead of his side's visit to the Memorial Stadium, Derek Adams has called for his Shrimps players to be more clinical in front of goal. 
“We created 17 chances last week against MK Dons,” he said.
“MK Dons did exactly the same against us, but they were more clinical on the day, we just have to be better in front of goal.
“They were great finishes, Grigg’s two finishes we probably could have defended better with the movement."
Meet the officials 
Dean Whitestone will take charge of Saturday’s game. The Northamptonshire-based official will be assisted by Ian Cooper and Mark Pottage along with Fourth Official Alan Young.
Whitestone, who has distributed nine yellow cards and zero red cards across three games so far this campaign, took charge of Morecambe's 3-0 defeat away to Peterborough United last month. 
After teaming up with Beyond Radio for the 2022/23 season, supporters will be able to listen to exclusive, full and uninterrupted radio commentary of every single game, home and away, which will be broadcast simultaneously on 103.5FM, 107.5FM and DAB+ digital radio across North Lancashire and South Cumbria as well as on the iFollow Shrimps platform.
Lead commentator Dave Salmon will be joined by the Club's Media and Content Coordinator, Matt Smith. 
Audio passes are available from as little as £2.50 per match, £4.49 for a monthly pass or £45 for a season pass.
As well as full match commentary, the ‘Shrimps Verdict’ podcast will be available post-match, featuring online, on demand content, including audio match highlights, post-match interviews and reaction, and much more!

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