Match Preview: Bristol Rovers vs West Ham United U23s: Checkatrade Trophy Southern Group D Matchday Two

West Ham United u23

In the second round of Group Stage matches of the Checkatrade Trophy, Terry Westley’s Young Hammers make the trip West to face League One Bristol Rovers with an opportunity to secure Qualification to the Knockout Stages.

The home side head into the clash off the back of an impressive home victory over MK Dons, while, our starlets are also brimming with confidence having made it three PL2 victories in four games against Manchester City on Saturday, setting things up for an interesting clash on the Somerset & Gloucestershire border.

When?

The tie will take place tonight (Tuesday 31 October 2017) with a kick-off time of 7:45 PM, there will be no mainstream Television Coverage of the game available in The UK.

However, you can tune in on Radio on BBC Radio Bristol if you are in the area and follow live Text Commentary on either club website, or alternatively, find live build-up, updates and reaction from Bristol on Twitter @MooreThanAClub.

Where?

Bristol Rovers’ home Ground of The Memorial Stadium will the host the visit of the Claret & Blue starlets, originally opened in 1921, it has a capacity of just over 12,000.

Dedicated to fallen Rugby Union players during The Second World War, the Venue was shared with Bristol Rugby Club up until 2014, tonight will be the first time that a Hammers Development Squad have visited, while the first-team won on their last trip to the tune of 1-2 in summer 2007.

Team News:

Rovers Assistant Manager Marcus Stewart confirmed that the side he and Manager Darrell Clarke are set to field will be strong with a view to rotate when speaking to The Press yesterday.

The home side’s starting Xl is expected to include the likes of star striker Rory Gaffney, skipper Tom Lockyer, midfield talent Ollie Clarke and some of the younger players such as Luke Russe and Lewis Ellington.

Meanwhile, Terry Westley welcomed back young Norway International winger Martin Samuelsen at the weekend and he is due to start, along with red-hot Spanish striker Toni Martinez.

The injured paring of Vice-captain Moses Makasi and exciting young attacker Marcus Browne are still expected to be out, while defender Noha Sylvestre continues his rehabilitation from a long-term blow.

Form:

The first-team of Bristol Rovers and Development squad of West Ham United have never met before in Competition Football, as it is only the second year of Premier League and Championship U23 sides being entered into The Competition.

However, Slaven Bilic’s Senior side have faced off with The Pirates in the past, 49 times to be precise over a period of 117 years.

Out of the close to 50 meetings, there have been 30 Claret & Blue victories, just 15 wins for the side from Bristol and the points have been split just 14 times.

The last time that the two sides went toe to toe with each other, came in the before-mentioned 2007 League Cup clash, where a brace from Craig Bellamy was enough to ensure that Andy Williams’ late goal was little more than a constellation.

The Opposition:

Bristol Rovers Football Club was formed in 1883 as The Black Arabs and since then have struggled constantly to stay in The Football League, most recently getting back into League two via the play-Offs in 2015.

Honours wise, they have won The Gloucester Cup an astounding 32 times and have a number of League One Promotions to their name, most recently an Automatic triumph by finishing third in 2015/2016.

The club are famous for a historic rivalry with close neighbours Bristol City, by whom they are nicknamed The Gas for their former Ground, The Eastville stadium being next to a Gasworks.

Nowadays, Managed by young Boss Darrel Clarke, Rovers are sitting respectfully in 13th position, having cemented their place The Third tier, they are also the current leaders of Group D on goal-difference from our youngsters.

So, with the scene now well and truly set for tonight’s promising EFL Trophy encounter, can the home side march to a second victory in the space of four days?

Or, will Westley’s bright Hammer starlets twinkle under the lights in Bristol to pull off another hugely impressive scalp? All will be revealed in a matter of hours’.