Meet Town's opponents: Rovers in freefall, Marcus Stewart - and why it's the Gas
- Credit: PA
Bristol Rovers come to Portman Road this afternoon looking to bring some Easter cheer to their fans after a woeful run of results that has seen just two wins in their last 10 - that since new boss Joey Barton took over.
Joey Barton is Rovers' seventh caretaker or full-time manager in the last three years in what has been a turbulent time for Gas fans.
Graham Coughlan took over as caretaker boss in 2018, before getting the job on a full-time basis, only to lose it a year later. Former Colchester United manager Joe Dunne, followed by Kevin Maher, both held caretaker roles, ahead of Ben Garner getting the job for 34 games.
But Garner was replaced by Paul Tisdale, with Tommy Widdrington caretaking the job before Tisdale - and then after - when Tisdale was replaced by Barton in February this year! Are you following all this?
So, it's been a rollercoaster of a few seasons for Rovers on the managerial front and the team's fortunes haven't improved. They now sit second bottom in the League One table with eight games left. They have lost their last four.
However, despite a less than average start as boss at the Memorial Stadium, former Fleetwood manager, Barton does retain the confidence of many of the Rovers faithful and, rather bizarrely, despite being at Rovers for just over a month, has being tipped as one of the favourites for the current Preston job!
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Barton played almost 400 League games and has one England cap - picked up against Spain.
INJURY WOES CONTINUE
Bristol Rovers pair Max Ehmer and Sam Nicholson will miss the rest of the season as they require surgery.
Defender Ehmer, 29, and midfielder Nicholson, 26, have both been playing through shoulder and hip injuries respectively in recent weeks.
Ehmer last featured against Plymouth two weeks ago, while Nicholson has been sidelined since 16 March at Charlton.
GOAL FEST UNLIKELY!
If Town fans are hoping for a goal fest at Portman Road this afternoon, they may be disappointed.
Rovers and Town are two of the lowest-scoring sides in League One - Rovers have scored 36 goals in 38 games, while Town have 39 in 36.
However, Rovers have conceded 60 - only four clubs have conceded more.
Defender, Luke Leahy is the team's leading scorer - on nine goals this season - most of them however from the penalty spot.
LAST TIME THEY MET
An 80th-minute own goal from Rovers skipper Max Ehmer set up Ipswich for a 2-0 victory at the Memorial Stadium back in September in both teams' second League One game of the season
The big centre-back rose at the near post to try to clear a right-wing cross from Ipswich substitute Jack Lankester, but only succeeded in glancing the ball over advancing goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola into an empty net.
The visitors then made the game safe after 89 minutes when Jon Nolan broke through the middle and coolly slotted in Ipswich's second with a low left-footed shot. It left Town top after two games, with six points.
THE MARCUS STEWART CONNECTION
Marcus Stewart, who scored 57 goals for Bristol Rovers at the start of his fine career before spending six years at the Memorial Ground as a coach at the end of his playing days, is a fans' favourite at both Rovers and Town.
Ipswich fans will always remember with fondness, the glove-wearing Stewart for his wonderful couple of seasons with the club as his goals helped Town into the Premiership in 2000 and then a fifth-placed finish a year later. Despite starring for Rovers, Bristol-born Stewart is in fact a Bristol City fan.
DID YOU KNOW?
Gashead is the name given to Bristol Rovers fans. The name stems from the fact that Rovers' old ground, Eastville Stadium, was situated next door to the old Eastville gasworks and the deep smell of the gas would often waft across the pitch during matches.