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Villa test for Under-21s

18 April 2016

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Rovers' Under-21s have their sights firmly set on the end of season promotion play-offs when they take on Aston Villa at Leigh Sports Village this evening.

A run of four straight victories has seen Damien Johnson's development squad charge up the table and they now need just a point from tonight's final league match of the campaign to ensure a place in the top five.

The team finishing top of Division 2 are automatically promoted with the following four sides competing in the play-offs.

The second-placed side will host the team who finishes fifth and third will be at home to fourth with the ties played on a single match basis.

The winners will then meet at the home stadium of the team that finished the season higher.

Last Monday's dramatic last-gasp win over West Brom has put Rovers in pole position for a fifth-placed finish, but come up against a Villa side that could end the campaign in 2nd place.

The points were shared when the two sides met at Villa Park earlier in the season. Rovers roared into a two-goal first half lead thanks to strikes from Lewis Mansell and Scott Wharton.

However the visitors weren't able to hold onto their advantage as Jerell Sellars and Libor Kozak grabbed second half goals as the match ended 2-2.

As expected Johnson has named a similar squad to the one that has served them so well in recent weeks, but they are without Connor Mahoney and Jack Doyle as the pair are part of the senior squad that will travel for tomorrow night's match against Nottingham Forest.

Luke Wall and Josh Askew return to the starting XI.

ROVERS: Eastwood, Nyambe, Askew, Tomlinson, Platt, Wharton (c), Thomson, Rankin-Costello, Forrester, Hardcastle, Wall.

Subs: Travis, Fisher (GK), Grayson, Pemberton, Mansell.

ASTON VILLA: Sarkic, Webb, Borg, Lyden (c), Suliman, Toner, Blackett-Taylor, Hale, Davis, Abdo, Green.

Subs: Leggett, Johansson (GK), O’Hare, Cox, Doyle-Hayes.

Fans can gain free admission to this evening's game at Leigh by completing the form on the Leigh Sports Village website.

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