And as we tie with the spanners in the chase to be the highest fouling team in the division ( Ince's MK are clear leaders, no surprise there), little old Bristol are nice and clean and are in the relegation zone of the dirty-boys table with nearly a hundred less fouls committed than us and 18 less yellows - and the distinct bonus ( is there a FairPlay prize down here) as far as suspensions are concerned with no red cards at all.
Rovers are currently in 9th place, their lowest placing of the season and have dropped down quite a bit since their good start to the season when they won 7 of the first 10 games and were up there in 3rd. The kiss of death then arrived from the Football League with Trollope being awarded Manager of the Month for September and inevitably October turned into a disaster with 5 straight defeats including a 0-4 home loss to Leeds.
Since then however, its been their home form which has kept them from really heading towards the relegation zone. Their last 10 away games have seen 8 defeats ( including that 4-2 loss at the Valley) and only 2 draws but at home its been a lot better.
A rather odd team where the number one, goalkeeper Steve Phillips is on loan at Crewe, while number 12 is worn by the supporters and are known as the Gasheads, in apparent recognition of the smell from the adjacent gas works. The goalkeeper, therefore is the giant 6' 5, 21 year old dane from Copenhagan, Mikkel Andersen wearing number 27 and on-loan from Reading.
After losing Ricky Lambert during the summer to Southampton, Rovers have struggled to find a replacement and current top scorers are left-winger number 11 ex-palarse Jeff Hughes, currently playing left-back, and midfielder Chris Lines with 8 each. Chris Lines is Rovers' own version of Nicky Bailey and has scored three of their last four goals but luck is against Rovers as he's currently out injured. And Hughes is currently on a run of 8 games without scoring and missed a penalty last week against Walsall.
So to fill in the gaps Trollope has secured loanee striker from Doncaster Paul Heffernan, famous for his head-butt on Charlie Mulgrew in the 88th minute of Play-off semi against Southend in 2008. He therefore missed the Dons moment of glory when they beat Leeds 1-0 in the final and made his Rovers debut last week against Walsall. And Trollope also wants to bring in another loan striker before tonight.
Whats Their Secret?
A bizarre team that have had more clean sheets than we have but then again only 6 teams in Tier 3 have conceded more goals. The only team in the top half of the table with a minus goal difference and although they have scored 3 on 4 occasions they have also conceded 5 twice ( Orient and Norwich) and 4 twice ( Leeds and the Addicks).History
Meanwhile there's strange goings-on as far as Lloyd Sam is concerned. Last week he missed his first League game of the season - apart from his one game suspension - and that was after only appearing for 10 minutes the week before against Walsall. And then there's the private meeting he had this week with Murray and Parky to discuss his contract which expires in the summer and the latest news that he has shaken off the bug that apparently stopped him playing last week.
And then what of Therry? After starting for the first time in eight games against Walsall he must have been cursing his luck when he had to go off after 52 minutes against Swindon with a head injury and didn't return.
But Parky needs to get it right this week and will revert to a 4-4-2 and after last weeks surprises the team would seem to pick itself.Elliot; Richardson, Dailly, Sam Sodje, Basey; Sam, Bailey, Semedo, Reid; Akpo Sodje and Burton.