Rovers head into their third competition of the season so far, with a home game against Stoke City U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
After Rovers’ 4-1 thrashing of MK Dons, the Blue and Whites now face Stoke City U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy tomorrow, with a 7:45pm kick off.
The tournament, which was revamped in 2016, consists of a group stage before a knockout round.
Rovers’ group stage is regionalised, in order to decrease travelling time. As well as Stoke City U21s, Rovers will also face Bury at home (Tuesday 3rd October) and Rochdale away (Tuesday 7th November).
Tomorrow’s encounter is likely to see Rovers play a weakened side, due to a busy schedule and having played 3 games in 8 days. Rovers will be without Charlie Mulgrew, who scored twice on Saturday, Corry Evans and Jayson Leutwiler due the players being called up to their respective nations.
Rovers are also likely to be missing Bradley Dack and Darragh Lenihan, due to their injuries which kept them out of the Burnley and MK Dons games.
To avoid a fine, Rovers will have to field at least 5 players who started the MK Dons game on Saturday or who will start the game against Rochdale on Saturday 9th September.
Stoke U21s will have their full squad to choose from, and may include some first team players as the rules allow a couple of senior players, meaning Rovers may find the game tougher than expected.
However, they will be without Ryan Sweeney and Dominic Telford. When I watched Stoke U23s v Rovers U23s last season, the duo were the main players – but have now gone on loan to Rovers’ League One rivals, Bristol Rovers.
Players to watch
Tony Mowbray may hand Joe Nuttall a first team start or appearance. Nuttall has been on fire in the youth setup – scoring 6 goals in 3 games. The young summer signing scored a hat-trick at home to Wolves, before travelling to Reading and scoring twice. Nuttall then made it 6 goals from 3 games when he scored a 89th minute winner away to Southampton this week.
Harry Chapman, who came off the bench against MK Dons, was very impressive on Saturday and may be handed a start in the team by Tony Mowbray. The on-loan Middlesbrough winger will be looking to show the “gaffer” why he should start away to Rochdale a week this Saturday.
Stoke’s midfielder Ollie Shenton is one to watch, as his passing and attacking-driven play could cause the Rovers’ defence problems.
Mowbray’s men will also need to watch out for pacey winger Tre Pemberton. The young wide-man was released from Rovers’ youth setup this summer, and signed for Stoke’s U21s. He will be trying to prove why Rovers should have kept him.
Rovers, obviously dependent on the team both Rovers and Stoke U21s put out, should have enough quality to overcome the young Stoke side.
It would be nice to see Joe Nuttall in the side after his form in the youth team, and I believe he will score if he gets a chance to play.
Prediction: Rovers 2-1 Stoke U21s
Rovers scorers: Harry Chapman, Joe Nuttall
Stoke scorers: Tyrese Campbell
Thanks for reading and Come on you Blues!
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