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In focus: Bristol Rovers

30 June 2016

Ahead of the 2016/17 Sky Bet League One campaign, takes a look at the teams MK Dons will face next season.

Next up is Bristol Rovers, who MK Dons will face for the first time in five years this season following the Pirates’ promotion from League Two.

Founded: 1883
Nickname: Pirates
Mascot: Captain Black Arab
Stadium: Memorial Stadium (capacity 11,000)
Home colours: Blue and white shirts, white shorts, white socks

Twitter: Official_BRFC
Facebook: Bristol Rovers

Darrell Clarke took charge of Bristol Rovers in March 2014 and although he couldn’t prevent the Pirates dropping out of the EFL, a year later he guided them back into League Two by winning the Conference Play-Off final.

Then last season, the 38-year-old led the club to a third-place finish and promotion to League One – his second promotion in successive seasons.

Clarke began his career as a player with Mansfield Town. He also enjoyed spells at Hartlepool United and Rochdale before joining Salisbury City, who he later went on to manage before his switch to Rovers.

Key and notable players
Rovers’ striker Matty Taylor was one of three players shortlisted for the League Two Player of the Year award after a season in which he netted 28 goals. The closest to him in the scoring charts was Billy Bodin, who had 13 strikes to his name in 2015/16.

Taylor was also one of the Pirates’ top appearance-makers last campaign, but he was behind defenders Lee Brown and Tom Lockyer in the list.

Some of Clarke’s other key players heading into the 2016/17 season include Ellis Harrison, Liam Lawrence, Cristian Montano and former Dons Chris Lines and Jermaine Easter.

Last season
Bristol Rovers secured back-to-back promotions on a dramatic final day in May 2016 after coming from behind to beat Dagenham & Redbridge courtesy of Lee Brown’s 92nd minute winner.

Rovers made a slow start to the campaign and spent the first few months in the bottom half of the table. However, after a strong December, they climbed up the rankings and in the final nine weeks of the campaign they lost just once en route to claiming the third and final automatic-promotion spot.

Rovers released just one player following their promotion-winning season – striker Rory Fallon, who made just three appearances for the first-team in 2015/16.

They also offered new deals to the rest of their out-of-contract players and, to date, Daniel Leadbitter, Billy Bodin, James Clarke, Lee Mansell, Mark McChrystal, Cristan Montano, Chris Lines and Ellis Harrison have all agreed to extend their stays.

In terms of incomings, the Pirates have signed Peter Hartley and Byron Moore – centre-back Harley joins from Plymouth Argyle while forward Moore is a free transfer from Port Vale.

Head to head
Dons wins: 6
Last Dons win: 2-1, 2 Feb 2011 (Memorial Stadium)
Biggest Dons win: 2-0, 1 Jan 2011 (Stadium MK; 2-0, 19 Aug 2006 (National Hockey Stadium)

Biggest Rovers win: 1-0, 5 Apr 2010 (Memorial Stadium)
Last Rovers win: 1-0, 5 Apr 2010 (Memorial Stadium)
Rovers wins: 1

Last draw: 1-1, 17 Feb 2007 (Memorial Stadium)
Draw: 1

Watch MK Dons take on Bristol Rovers at Stadium MK in 2016/17, as well as 22 other home League One matches, by becoming a Season Ticket holder.

Adult Season Tickets are priced from £28 a month while under-21s can enjoy the full campaign from just £12.34 a month. Under-18 Season Tickets are priced from only £2.50 a month and under-12s can go FREE with a Young Dons membership.

To purchase a Season Ticket visit the Box Office at Stadium MK/kiosk at centre:mk or call 0333 200 5343. You can also download an application form and post it to Box Office, Stadium MK, Stadium Way, Milton Keynes, MK1 1ST.

The Dons host Rovers at Stadium MK on Tuesday 18th October and then visit the Memorial Stadium just a month later on Saturday 19th November.
2016/17 MATCHES

Angelo Balanta, Scott Bevan, Dominic Blizzard, Mustapha Carayol, Jermaine Easter, Tom Hitchcock, Chris Lines, David McCracken, Richie Partridge, Carl Regan, James Tunnicliffe, Dan Woodards, Mark Wright,
Played for both

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