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Dec 7, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
Bristol RoversBristol Rovers
Port ValePort Vale
Collins (56')
Whelan (86'), Pitman (90+5')
Finley (15'), Harries (77')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Garrity (31', 33')
Jones (58'), Politic (60')

Preview: Bristol Rovers vs. Port Vale - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Bristol Rovers vs. Port Vale - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's League Two clash between Bristol Rovers and Port Vale, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Bristol Rovers and Port Vale both return to League Two action on Tuesday evening, with the sides doing battle at the Memorial Stadium following victories in the FA Cup at the weekend.

The hosts continue to struggle in the fourth tier following their relegation last campaign, whilst the visitors remain in the playoffs following an excellent start to the season.

Match preview

Two goals inside four minutes from Aaron Collins and Nick Anderton on Saturday were enough to see Rovers record an impressive victory over Sutton United at the Memorial Stadium.

With the goals arriving within just a few minutes of Joey Barton's side falling behind shortly after half time, it was the sign of some great character within the team and led to a 2-1 victory that sees Rovers into the hat for the third round of the FA Cup at the expense of their high-flying League Two opponents.

However, despite success in the cup recently, the Pirates remain in a troubled spot in the league, with two points from their last three games leaving them down in 16th place ahead of Tuesday's return to League Two action.

As a result, any hopes of an immediate return to League One following relegation in May are becoming increasingly dampened due to the fact that Barton's men remain almost as many points from the relegation zone as they do from the playoff places.

That situation could have been far brighter had Rovers taken advantage of glorious opportunities in their last two league fixtures in particular, after drawing 1-1 with Salford City and then losing 2-0 at Forest Green Rovers following their opponents having two players and one man sent off respectively in those encounters.

The hosts return to league action on Tuesday though with the hope that success in the cup at the weekend can provide the spark and confidence to put together a strong run of form to see Rovers climb up the table in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Port Vale followed up their 5-1 triumph over League One Accrington Stanley in the first round of the FA Cup by overcoming another third-tier opponent in the form of Burton Albion on Saturday in their second round tie.

Dennis Politic netted a quickfire double late on to turn the game on its head in the space of four minutes, after Darrell Clarke's side had fallen behind midway through the first half.

The 2-1 victory meant it was a return to winning ways for the Valiants, following their exit from the EFL Trophy via penalties at the hands of League One table-toppers Rotherham United in midweek.

A busy schedule of late has been tough on Clarke's men, and as a result, a poor three-game spell in November threatened to spoil their excellent start to the 2021-22 season, where just a single point was picked up from the nine on offer.

However, Vale remain in fifth as things stand, with just one point between themselves and Exeter City in the automatic promotion places, meaning victory in Bristol on Tuesday could see them rise the table and strengthen their chances of an unlikely promotion to the third tier.

Bristol Rovers League Two form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L

Bristol Rovers form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • W

Port Vale League Two form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W

Port Vale form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W

Team News

The hosts remain without Joshua Grant on Tuesday, who has been ruled out for around six weeks due to a hamstring injury.

Alfie Kilgour will also be unavailable following his knee surgery last week, but Sam Nicholson, Trevor Clarke and Luca Hoole all returned to the squad at the weekend following recent injury problems.

Mark Hughes remains a long-term absentee due to an ongoing achilles problem for the hosts as well.

After back-to-back appearances in the cups for goalkeeper Aidan Stone, first-choice Lucas Covolan is expected to return between the posts for the visitors on Tuesday.

Clarke remains restricted with options up front though, with Jamie Proctor, James Wilson, George Lloyd, Eden Bailey and Kamani McFarlane all remaining unavailable.

Politic's match-winning impact from the bench at the weekend means he is likely to come into the starting lineup, with David Amoo likely to drop out.

Bristol Rovers possible starting lineup:
Belshaw; Taylor, Harries, Anderton; Anderson, Whelan, Coutts, Finley; Collins; Nicholson, Evans

Port Vale possible starting lineup:
Covolan; Smith, Martin, Jones; Worrall, Garrity, Conlon, Pett, Benning; Politic, Rodney

We say: Bristol Rovers 1-1 Port Vale

Despite the differing positions in the table heading into Tuesday's meeting, there is very little between these two sides, and as a result we are predicting a draw in this one.

Rovers' FA Cup victory at the weekend will provide them with a much-needed boost, and with home advantage on their side on Tuesday as well, we can see them taking a point off their high-flying opponents.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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1Forest Green RoversForest Green22146245202548
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3Sutton UnitedSutton2312383528739
4Tranmere RoversTranmere2211562014638
5Swindon TownSwindon2210753426837
6Port Vale21105635231235
7Newport CountyNewport239863832635
8Exeter CityExeter2381053326734
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10Leyton Orient22710537211631
11Harrogate TownHarrogate228683531430
12Bradford CityBradford2261152926329
14Crawley TownCrawley218492631-528
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18Bristol Rovers217592733-626
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21Carlisle UnitedCarlisle2257101629-1322
23Scunthorpe UnitedScunthorpe23310101938-1919
24Oldham AthleticOldham2446142239-1718
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19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle1918101942-2311
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