1PT Bristol Rovers to beat Stockport in League one 2/1 Coral or 9/5 PaddyPower and B365

(Saturday 15th August, 3.00pm KO)

We hit the bar backing the other Bristol side last week but hopefully Rovers will be capable of holding on to a 2-0 lead with less than ten minutes of normal time remaining. Sorry, I’m still a bit bitter about last week as you can probably tell. In all seriousness, I think Rovers look a good bet at a nice price on Saturday. Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t usually be rushing to back a side that had just sold their twenty nine goal top scorer from the previous season. However, although the departure of Ricky Lambert is an obvious blow to Bristol Rovers, I think that they have capable replacements in Duffy and Kuffour, both of whom managed double figures last season. They will be eager to take their chance to build a reputation for themselves and persuade manager Paul Trollope that he doesn’t need to go and spend a lot of money on another striker. Rovers are a decent league one side and have benefited from a board that has kept faith with a young manager. Paul Trollope is beginning his fifth season at the Memorial ground and he has built a useful team with minimal resources. Trollope is actually the second longest serving manager in the division and the tenth longest serving manger in the country, which is some achievement considering the modern day craziness that sees managers sacked one game into a new season?

The main reason for this bet however, is that Stockport County just have to be opposed right now and a 2/1 quote from Coral was just too big to miss out on. Stockport were placed into administration at the end of last season and are still struggling badly. They punched above their weight for much of last year but have since lost manager Jim Gannon along with most of their best players in McNulty, Dicker, Rowe and Pilkington. There have been no new arrivals of any note over the summer apart from manager Gary Ablett. I am not convinced Ablett is going to be the man for the job at all and his record is far from inspiring. He has never managed in the football league and has just a spell as a youth coach at Everton and a stint as Liverpool reserve manager on his CV. He was only available after Liverpool terminated his contract at the end of last season.

Ablett has a very limited squad to work with and no money for new players. In a situation like this you need experienced players to see you through, yet Stockport have probably got the most inexperienced squad in the football league. The twelve players Ablett used at Oldham last week had an average age of just twenty two. Eight of them were under twenty three and the oldest player was just twenty seven. Although they left Boundary Park with a point last week, this was thanks to a man of the match performance from goalkeeper Fon Williams and was followed up by a 3-1 cup defeat at Huddersfield. The Hatters look nailed on for relegation and I will be looking to oppose them as often as prices allow. Paul Trollope seemed confident of getting a win in his pre match interview and I have to agree with him:

“Stockport are in a little bit of transition with a new manager and I’m sure Gary is trying to mould things how he’d like them – although that can take a little bit of time.

“We are confident that if we can produce the football we’re capable of and defend right, we can win the game.”

The Oracle

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