Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead

Hello, good evening and welcome.

Bristol Rovers are a team that’s felt familiar for some time, and yet we’ve never met in competitive circles. After parting with a fair few notes to prise Barry Hayles from us, we’ve not so much as shot a glance in each other’s general direction. Now, however, we’re getting a proper introduction – and we’re all well aware how first impressions count for a lot.

The Pirates are doing a passable impression of a League team, which is understandable given they returned in from the Conference cold at the first attempt. In a 24-team table, 12th is pretty much smack bang in the middle and that’s where you’ll find them right now. But, you’ll not be surprised to learn, that isn’t telling the whole story of their season.

Look, we all know how rough Boro’ have been on the road this term – that’s not up for debate here. But with Rovers we have a team who have contrived to lose five of their eight outings at the Memorial. Goals have been at a premium too – the defence might be tight enough, but averaging less than a goal a game yourself at home makes for a problem or two.

Now, we’re not sure what we make of this – Yeovil’s home form wasn’t particularly handy and we failed to win there. Is our luck about to rebound? We hope so. Not least because, with the exception of the teams sitting top of both Leagues One and Two, we’re the only team that can’t move up in the table in this round of games. We can, however, slip down.

It’s no surprise to see our poor run on our travels influencing the bookies, but it does mean there’s a big payday on the way once we finally get this monkey off our back. The Gas are 7/10 for the win, while we are 9/2 and a draw is 31/10. It’s 23/30 (BetVictor) on both teams finding the net, with Jamille Matt 10/3 (Bet365) to break his Boro’ duck.

Matt’s chances of doing so are going to be much greater if the gaffer is swayed by the idea of two up top. But with such ropey away form, will we play it safe and string five across the middle. Oh, let us tell you, the uncertainty is magical – a veritable Christmas treat and we’re still one month out from the Yuletide wonder. Holidays are coming…

BoroGuide’s Bristol Rovers club profile – ’tis the season, always the real thing