Rovers’ convincing win at the Kassam on Saturday has left fans daring to dream once again. Surely Darrell Clarke’s boys can’t possibly secure a play-off place and earn a chance at a third promotion in three seasons, can they?

Here, two Football Forecast bloggers, Doug Shields and Joe Moon examine their remaining games and cast their verdicts on whether or not this team can rewrite history again. At the end of the 2015/16 season, Barnsley clinched the final League One play-off place with 74 points and won at Wembley to secure a spot in the Championship.They did it by winning 22 of their 46 games, drawing eight and losing 16. Their goal difference of plus 16 was three better than Scunthorpe’s, who finished on the same points. As it stands now Rovers have 51 points, meaning they are 23 short of the total Barnsley amassed – a decent benchmark. So far they have won 13 of their 36 games, drawn 12 and lost 11. The Gas have ten games to play, five at the Mem and five on the road. It will take some doing but if they can remain unbeaten and rack up seven wins and a couple of draws, they might just do it.

Next Saturday’s encounter and the final game of the season look the toughest on paper, with play-off chasing Southend making the 350-mile round trip to the west country this weekend and Millwall, who will also fancy their chances of finishing in the top six, arriving on the last day of the season.

If Rovers are to sneak into the top six via the backdoor, a win on Saturday would be a good starting point. Following that Rovers travel to Bury, who have struggled to find decent home form all year. Chesterfield at home appears winnable, as does the March 25 trip to the Ricoh to face beleaguered Coventry City. But both sides are still fighting for their lives, Chesterfield more so than Cov, which could make them dangerous. Another winnable home game against Shrewsbury kicks April off, followed by tricky trips to Wimbledon and Gillingham respectively. Easter Monday’s home game v Oldham, who are also struggling, leaves a long trek across to Peterborough and then the final fixture v Millwall at the Mem. There are sure to be many twists and turns along the way, and at least one club will stumble and fall like the proverbial stone as the pressure builds. Lee Brown’s winner in the dying seconds of the final game last season shows anything is possible.

So how will the Gas fare?

Here are Doug’s predictions:

Sat 11 Mar Southend home   Win 2-1      3 POINTS

Tues 14 Mar Bury away       Draw 1-1       1 POINT

Sat 18 Mar Chesterfield home Lose 0-1   0 POINTS

Sat 25 Mar Coventry away       Draw 1-1   1 POINT

Sat 1 Apr Shrewsbury home   Win   2-0   3 POINTS

Sat 8 Apr AFC Wimbledon away Win 2-1   3 POINTS

Fri 14 Apr Gillingham away   Lose 1-0       0 POINTS

Mon 17 Apr Oldham home   Win 3-0         3 POINTS

Sat 22 Apr Peterborough away Lose 2-1   0 POINTS

Sun Apr 30 Millwall home   Win 2-0           3 POINTS

TOTAL   17 POINTS

VERDICT 8TH PLACE WITH 68 POINTS:

A gallant effort and a fantastic season overall but another term in League One, giving Darrell time to rebuild and improve the squad, looks likely.

Joe’s predictons:

Sat 11 Mar Southend home Win 2-0          3 POINTS

Tues 14 Mar Bury away Win 2-1                 3 POINTS

Sat 18 Mar Chesterfield home Draw 2-2   1 POINT

Sat 25 Mar Coventry away Draw 1-1         1 POINT

Sat 1 Apr  Shrewsbury home Win 2-0         3 POINTS

Sat 8 Apr AFC Wimbledon away Draw 0-0 1 POINT

Fri 14 Apr  Gillingham away Lose 1-0         0 POINTS

Mon 17 Apr Oldham home   Win  2-0         3 POINTS

Sat 22 Apr Peterborough away Draw 0-0  1 POINT

Sun Apr 30 Millwall home Win 3-1             3 POINTS

TOTAL   19 POINTS

VERDICT 7TH PLACE WITH 70 POINTS:

I can see us amassing a respectable 70 point total come the end of the season. As much as I would like to think we could sneak our way up to 6th, the form of teams around us dictates that we will finish just outside of the play-offs to cap off our first season back in the third tier.

Feature Image Credit: Chris Clements at English Wikipedia

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