Bristol Rovers vs Aston Villa: no fairytale day in dugout for North

Shaun North appears set to be in charge of Bristol Rovers for one game, but it is unlikely to end in glory for the boss as Aston Villa should comfortably be able to avoid a giant killing at the Memorial Stadium.

Paul Buckle was sacked as Bristol Rovers boss in midweek as the club dropped alarmingly towards the foot of the League Two standings and it is expected that a permanent replacement will be named in the coming days.

North could not have asked for a bigger game for his one day in the limelight and it is 5/1 in the FA Cup odds that Bristol Rovers mark the day with a major victory.

The omens are not bad for the Pirates as they have reached the fourth round of the FA Cup on all of the last four occasions that they have made the third and twice in this period they have dumped out Premier League opposition.

Meanwhile, Villa are not in the greatest form of late and with the pressure already slightly mounting on Alex McLeish from the fans, an upset defeat against lower-league opposition is exactly what he does not need.

Aside from the obvious gulf between the pair, Villa should also have little trouble winning given the fact that Bristol Rovers have lost six of their last eight games, including all of the last four, and not won since October.

Aston Villa have also won all of their career FA Cup meetings with Bristol Rovers and slightly surprisingly all of these three successes have come in the third round of the competition.

It is 8/15 that Aston Villa triumph, with the draw that would enable Bristol Rovers a money-spinning replay at Villa Park priced at 3/1.

Aston Villa have generally not struggled to score against lower-division opposition in their most recent FA Cup encounters and a 3-0 victory stands out in the correct scoreline market at 10/1.

Emile Heskey has been passed fit for Villa and despite his average scoring ratio, he is capable of netting against Bristol Rovers.

Heskey looks a decent bet at 6/4 to strike at any point in the 90 minutes.


Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.