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Preview: Rovers Under-23s v Southampton Under-23s

A look ahead to Fridaynight's Premier League 2 encounter at Leyland against the Saints

13 February 2020

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Rovers Under-23s return to action on Friday night when they host Southampton's Under-23s at the Lancashire FA HQ in Leyland.

Dave Horseman brings his Saints side north having lost their last six trips away from home in all competitions, the latest of which came at Nottingham Forest in the Premier League Cup.

It could prove to be an interesting team selection for Billy Barr, with the first team heading to Charlton Athletic at the weekend and the Under-18s featuring in the FA Youth Cup against Preston North End on Tuesday night at Ewood Park.

Depending on whether they're included in the travelling party to Charlton, there may be game time for the experienced pair of Charlie Mulgrew and Richie Smallwood against the Saints.

Mulgrew returned to Rovers in the January transfer window with a slight knock picked up during his time with the Latics, and hasn't featured since playing for Paul Cook's side at Luton Town towards the end of 2019.

Now back fit, the Scotland international will now begin working his way back to match fitness, and could view Friday night as the perfect opportunity.

For Smallwood, games in the first team have been few and far between, with the 29-year-old now looking to tick himself over by featuring for Barr's side.

Joe Hilton is expected to keep his place in goal, with ever-present Stefan Mols expected to skipper the side once more after scoring in the Premier League Cup defeat to Middlesbrough a week ago.

Rovers earned all three points in the reverse fixture down on the south coast back in October 2019.

A first half brace from Dan Butterworth came in between Jack Vale's strike to put Rovers in command at the interval down at Staplewood Training Ground.

Although the hosts did pull a goal back through Callum Slattery in the second half, Billy Barr's side managed to see the game out comfortably and secure the victory.

A win will see Rovers move up to sixth in the table for the weekend at least, whilst victory for Southampton will help them in their battle to avoid the drop, but they will remain in the bottom two whatever happens on Friday.

Kick-off at the Lancashire FA HQ is at 7pm, with the game free of charge for Rovers season ticket holders, otherwise admission prices are £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.

We will have full match updates via our social media channels.

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