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Wycombe Wanderers
League One | Gameweek 23
Dec 26, 2022 at 3pm UK
Adams Park
Bristol Rovers

2 - 1
Bristol Rovers

Wheeler (22'), Wing (48')
Obita (13'), Grimmer (35'), Wing (66')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Coburn (4')
Thomas (8'), Gibson (45+2')

Preview: Wycombe Wanderers vs. Bristol Rovers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday's League One clash between Wycombe Wanderers and Bristol Rovers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two sides separated by a single point in the fight for playoff places in the League One table will do battle on Boxing Day, as Wycombe Wanderers welcome Bristol Rovers to Adams Park.

The teams each boast two wins and a draw from their last three matches, putting the hosts seventh, two points outside of the top six, while their visitors are just one point worse off in ninth spot.

Match preview

Wycombe Wanderers' manager Gareth Ainsworth celebrates after the match on May 8, 2022© Reuters

In their bid to make a return to the Championship this season, Wycombe Wanderers did not enjoy the strongest start, despite keeping themselves in and around the playoff places, as a run of a loss and two draws left them on 22 points from 17 league outings, before an important win away at Forest Green Rovers in mid-November was then followed by another defeat at the hands of Cheltenham Town.

Then sitting well outside of the playoff places having only accumulated 25 points from 19 attempts, Gareth Ainsworth's side knew they needed to improve their form and were able to make a return to winning ways at home to Portsmouth at the beginning of November, as Anis Mehmeti opened the scoring early on and Garath McCleary wrapped up the three points with a second in the final minutes.

Hoping to build a winning run on the back of that crucial result, the Chairboys then travelled to take on Lincoln City, but they were forced to settle for a share of the spoils as neither side managed to break the deadlock, before facing the tough test of a home contest against promotion-chasing Ipswich Town last time out.

Brandon Hanlan would put them ahead in the 40th minute at Adams Park, and Ainsworth's men stood strong to see out a clean sheet and a ninth three-point haul of the campaign as the league season approaches its halfway point.

Thanks to their upturn in form, Wycombe have moved back to seventh spot in the table, and with just a two-point gap up to Derby County, they can climb into the playoff places with a victory if other results go their way.

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton pictured in May 2021© Reuters

That will be no easy task, though, as Bristol Rovers make the trip looking to leapfrog their opponents and strengthen their own playoff bid with another victory.

Other than a winless run across August and September, Joey Barton's men have continuously impressed since their promotion from League Two last season, and they now find themselves five games unbeaten in England's third tier since a defeat away at Derby in late October.

Since then, the Gas have added 11 points to their tally and climbed into the playoff fight as a result, firstly playing out draws with Fleetwood Town and Bolton Wanderers either side of a win over Peterborough United, before putting back-to-back league victories together heading into Boxing Day.

Barton's side would snatch all three points in a 1-0 win over Port Vale, as Aaron Collins hit the only goal of the match in the 87th minute, before following up on a 4-1 thrashing of MK Dons in the EFL Cup with a 2-1 league triumph away at Charlton Athletic last time out, with John Marquis netting a brace to ensure they turned the game on its head and returned home with all three points.

The Gas' eye-catching improvement has seen them quickly rise to ninth spot in their first season back in League One, and they will now look to continue climbing with a fourth straight win in all competitions which would see them leapfrog the hosts and potentially move within touching distance of the top six.

Wycombe Wanderers League One form:

Wycombe Wanderers form (all competitions):

Bristol Rovers League One form:

Bristol Rovers form (all competitions):

Team News

Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth pictured on September 21, 2021© Reuters

Gareth Ainsworth is not expected to be dealing with any new injury issues in his Wycombe squad, and they could come into Monday's contest with an unchanged starting XI after an impressive win over Ipswich, with the back four of Jason McCarthy, Jack Grimmer, Alfie Mawson and Jordan Obita bound to remain untouched in the continued absence of captain Joe Jacobsen.

Brandon Hanlan will again lead the line after hitting his first goal of the season last time out, while attacking midfielder Anis Mehmeti is arguably the main threat going forward, having hit the net eight times and provided two assists in 22 League One appearances this term.

David Wheeler and Garath McCleary should again complete the attacking unit on the flanks, with Lewis Wing and Josh Scowen set to operate at the base of midfield.

Bristol Rovers could also come in with minimal changes after their impressive away win last time out, although John Marquis has a strong claim to come in and lead the line from the outset after netting a second-half brace off the bench in the beating of Charlton.

He faces competition though, with Aaron Collins boasting 11 goals so far this season while Middlesbrough loanee Josh Coburn has netted five, and Antony Evans is bound to keep his place behind the front line.

Key midfielder Sam Finley is set to return to contention on Monday after an injury, and he will be fighting to reclaim a starting berth, although Barton may opt to ease him back in and stick with Luke McCormick and captain Paul Coutts in the engine room for the upcoming battle.

Wycombe Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Stryjek; McCarthy, Grimmer, Mawson, Obita; Wing, Scowen; McCleary, Mehmeti, Wheeler; Hanlan

Bristol Rovers possible starting lineup:
Belshaw; Thomas, Connolly, Gibson; Sinclair, McCormick, Coutts, Gordon; Evans; Collins, Marquis

SM words green background

We say: Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Bristol Rovers

The two sides are both in impressive runs of form and will come into the game with confidence, and we put them on a very level playing field.

While Wycombe do boast home advantage, Barton's side have been impressive in tough fixtures in recent weeks, and we see a share of the spoils as the most likely outcome at Adams Park.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna pictured on December 29, 2021
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