The Opposition View: Bristol Rovers

Last updated : 24 September 2015 By Jim Bonner

What's your assessment of Bristol Rovers' season so far?

It's been a very mixed return to the Football League. Some early victories - notably the away win at Luton - gave us confidence that we could establish ourselves as a competitive side at this level once again. However, some below par performances in recent home games have seen us slip down the table. A promising draw away at Plymouth last week restored some faith amongst Rovers fans ahead of Saturday's game.

Who are the key players in the current Rovers team?

Danny Leadbitter - Despite only being a squad player in the Conference, his performances this season at right wing-back in a new 5-3-2 formation have been excellent. Unfortunately he's been injured for the last couple of weeks, but he's looking to return against Pompey.

Ellis Harrison - Quick forward who really came into his own last season under the stewardship of Darrell Clarke, after breaking into the first team in 2013. Harrison wasn't first choice at the start of last season, but the 21-year-old has forced his way into the side by scoring 14 in his last 24 appearances.

What are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of your side?

Our biggest strength is the work rate of the side, and their willingness to dig in when things aren't going well. Last week's injury-time equaliser against Plymouth summed up this 'never-say-die' attitude and our last minute winners at Yeovil and Luton in August have also proved valuable.

Our biggest weakness is probably our inability to deal with strong, physical teams who press high, giving us little time on the ball. Last season both us and Barnet came up against opposition who were quite willing to sit back and let us dictate the game. In League 2, we've both struggled in certain games against quality opposition who have pressed us effectively.

What do you make of the current Portsmouth squad and are there any players you are particularly wary of?

Portsmouth are obviously massive favourites to get promoted, and have been every year since they were relegated. However this year I feel they are genuine contenders, rather than just 'bookies' favourites'. The key being that they have experience in the squad, which I feel they've lacked in the past. Paul Cook has been there and done it with Chesterfield, and players like Matt Tubbs and Gary Roberts provide them with an extra bit of quality in the final third.

What kind of match can we expect on Saturday and would you take a draw if offered to you now?

I would expect an energetic game, particularly if we revert back to 5-3-2 with wing backs. Pompey's attacking quality should also contribute to a fast-flowing game, and there could perhaps be a few goals on the cards. Pompey are unbeaten at the moment, and so it will be a tough game.

However, after our last few disappointing results at home and the optimism which followed last week's draw, I would like to think we can bounce back and put in a good performance. A draw wouldn't be the worst result, but of course I'd like us to win!

Predict the outcome of the game.

A 2-2 draw.