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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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09 February 2021 Venue Memorial Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

PREVIEW Bristol Rovers v Oxford United

A full guide to tonight's Sky Bet League 1 game

9 February 2021

Oxford United travel to Bristol Rovers in Sky Bet League 1 this evening (7pm)

TEAM NEWS
The U's have no new injuries after the game at Doncaster Rovers on Saturday. Brandon Barker, who went off at half time after his calf tightened up, is available again and that looks to be the one decision facing boss Karl Robinson after Mide Shodipo replaced the on-loan Rangers man and scored his tenth of the season.

Marcus McGuane is making good progress from injury but is again unavailable as is John Mousinho while young defender Luke McNally continues his 'mini pre-season' before he is involved in the matchday squad.

Hear Karl's thoughts in iFollow right now where you can also hear from new boy Elliott Lee and see the whole game live.

You can stream the game HERE

THE OPPOSITION
Bristol Rovers boss Paul Tisdale is looking for a first win in seven League One games and is asking his players to show character tonight:

“Oxford have become very fluid and very confident,” he said.“They’ve had their tough time this year. They’ve come out of it and they are full of confidence and they’ve got a nice rhythm about them. Karl Robinson’s teams have always had some level of football you have to be ready for.

“We’ve got to knuckle down and the players have got to put a shift in. It’s not about pretty football sometimes. It’s about showing some gumption and some grit and determination. We’re in this struggle and we’ve got to get ourselves out of it.”

“We look forward to playing at the Mem. We’ve got a good run of home games. They are the form side in the EFL at the moment so we mustn’t take them for granted at all. It’s a home game, I know, but we’re playing against a top team at the moment.”

SEE IT LIVE
Saturday's game at Doncaster saw our biggest 'away following' of the season: a new record number of fans watcing a game on iFollow.

Log on again tonight to hear commentary from Nathan Cooper and Stevie Kinniburgh

We have all the build up on twitter and on our official Instagram page, complete with behind the scenes exclusive content, plus a full report and Gallery right here on the final whistle and reaction from all the key men in iFollow.

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Match Reports

REPORT Bristol Rovers 0 Oxford United 2

New boys Lee and Barker earn United a win. Full time report

9 February 2021

Oxford United made it 10 wins from 11 games as Elliot Lee's first-half goal and a late strike from Brandon Barker earned them all three points at Bristol Rovers tonight.

Boss Karl Robinson had demanded a reaction after a club record nine-game winning streak ended at Doncaster on Saturday, and his side responded with a typically professional performance to sink the Pirates, topped by goals from two of their deadline-day signings.

United started as brightly as their orange shirts, with crosses from the flanks by Josh Ruffels and the influential Lee both missing Matty Taylor by inches and the whole side closing down and harrying Rovers from the off.

It was the home side who had the first real chances though when James Daly could only sidefoot a volley straight into the gloves of the waiting Jack Stevens from six yards out. He then blasted wastefully over the bar five minutes later after doing all the hard work to get past the otherwise rock-solid Rob Atkinson.

Those were all the let-offs United needed and as soon as they restarted the game after that second chance they were ahead through a neat passing move which saw James Henry supply the killer pass and Lee run clear, draw the keeper and calmly slot across him for his first goal for the club. Good finish. Good player.

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United lost their momentum after the goal though and it took an outstanding save from Stevens to keep the lead intact at the break, reaching up to tip a goalbound effort from George Williams out of the net.

United were good value for their half-time lead and had enjoyed 60 per cent of the possession in the first 45 minutes; they almost had Goal of the Season as well when Henry’s attempted chip over the keeper from inside his own half dropped just wide of the target, but they hadn't truly built on their advantage.

That's harsh on a side leading away from home, but the one real downside was Sam Long having to hobble off just before the break with what looked like a hamstring problem: not a massive surprise as temperatures dropped below zero.

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United had a ready-made replacement in Anthony Forde, as dependable as ever, and the back line continued to protect Stevens and only offer the slightest encouragement to Rovers, but chances were hard to come by at either end in the second half.

United gambled by throwing on Sam Winnall alongside Matty Taylor and Lee and playing three men up for a while as they tried to kill off a Rovers side who were still very much in the game. Cameron Brannagan, back at the heart of most things, stabbed wide with a good chance on 78 minutes but the second goal just refused to come their way.

Subs Mark Sykes and Sam Winnall were denied, the former by a superb tackle by a defender who came from nowhere and the latter by a flying save from keeper Joe Day, but the second goal wouldn't quite come.

They almost paid for that when Daly scuffed a last-minute effort wide when he should have scored, but no matter. Into injury time and Forde won the ball on half way, drove forward and fed Barker. The on-loan Rangers man drove at his stranded defender, beat him on the outside and smashed the ball home inside the near post to end the contest. Good finish. Good player.

A win, a clean sheet and United are back on track. They were never truly off it and had probably played better in defeat at Doncaster, but that is academic. An away win, a positive reaction and the next run starts here...

Report by Chris Williams, pictures Steve Edmunds stats by OPTA

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