Aaron Collins’ recent run of form may make Bristol Rovers reconsider striker pursuit

Bristol Rovers at times have played without a recognised striker but should they buy one in January?

<p>Joey Barton may not need to pursue a striker in the January transfer window. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)</p>

Joey Barton may not need to pursue a striker in the January transfer window. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

The January transfer window opens soon and one position that will be on the agenda for Bristol Rovers is up front.

Right now, there are no players from the Gas that are in the top 20 scorers in League Two, highlighting that there hasn’t been much success in front of goal for the strikers at the club.

Aaron Collins however could persuade the club to perhaps focus on a different position after his recent run of form after being played as a striker instead of the ‘ten’ role he has been accustomed to.

After arriving from Forest Green Rovers on a free transfer, Collins brought to the Mem a season in which he reached double figures, helping the Gloucestershire side reach the play-offs.

Adapting to a new club can be difficult though and given the turnover of players at the club, it was a slow start for the Welshman.

He didn’t net his first goal until November, scoring a cracker of a strike against Oxford United in a real exciting FA Cup replay, in which they progressed.

A second strike then came against Sutton United in the FA Cup, scoring from the penalty spot.

Ultimately though the league is Rovers’ priority as they have strengthened well on paper and returning to the third tier is the ultimate goal.

These past seven days however show that the 24-year-old has turned a corner and could now change Joey Barton’s plans for January.

Persistence has paid off as after a string of performances in which he’s shown promise and earned a few assists, the goals have finally come.

He netted in the 2-1 defeat to Port Vale and then followed it up with a brace in the 4-2 win over Rochdale, in which he stole the show, helping Barton’s side to a much-needed win.

It’s that recent form that perhaps can fend off any plans for a new striker in January as this will hopefully be a time in which Collins makes this a purple patch.

Former Bournemouth striker Brett Pitman is back fit but he’s not back in the starting eleven. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

He is currently keeping out experienced striker Brett Pitman in the side and that perhaps is a sign that maybe a striker shouldn’t be a priority in January.

A player like Pitman started well and netted four times before an injury kept him out for a while. Pitman is currently biding his time and it doesn’t look like at the moment that both Collins and Pitman will line up alongside each other and instead are in competition.

Sam Nicholson, who is predominantly a winger is lining up next to Collins and has shown his striker’s instinct this year scoring four goals, as well as Antony Evans who has also been deployed as a makeshift striker.

So why would Rovers look to get another front man in if there’s already a battle? It’s unlikely that a move for a permanent striker would be on the cards as that would mean five strikers at the club would be on the books.

It is why that if there are any plans for any attacking reinforcements in January, it would be best suited to look at perhaps loaning a striker from a Premier League or Championship club, looking for vital first-team experience.

No club who has a striker that can regularly score goals is going to allow them to depart on the cheap so it’s either a hope of recruiting a lower league gem or a youngster from a higher division club, if any movement up front is going to take place.

A year ago Leon Clarke was on the books of Sheffield United in the Premier League. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

There is also Leon Clarke to consider, he is still in the treatment room with a hamstring injury, which has kept him out since mid September.

Clarke two seasons ago was playing in the Premier League and on four occasions has reached double figures, so it is worth being patient with him and waiting until he’s fit again.

Lastly, Harvey Saunders is now back and in training so for at least in the short-term, there is another alternative when things aren’t working out with either Collins or Pitman.

Saunders worked at Fleetwood Town and made a good start, netting two goals in 12 appearances but torn ankle ligaments have kept him sidelined since mid October.

So from our findings, we can predict that this may be the kick start that Collins has needed whilst if the injuries can ease up, that any money in the January budget may be spent elsewhere.