Barnsley’s Luke Thomas breaks silence over speculation of return to Bristol Rovers

Bristol Rovers face a waiting game over a possible reunion with Luke Thomas who has opened up on his summer with Barnsley

Luke Thomas says ‘his number one goal’ is to play at Barnsley which could pour cold water on a potential return to Bristol Rovers.

The 23-year-old returned to Oakwell this summer following a successful loan spell with the Gas last season and there had been reports that Thomas was in line to return but no ‘official approach’ has been made by Rovers.

Thomas under new manager Michael Duff has been given a few opportunities in friendly matches over the past month or so.

He started against Harrogate on Wednesday evening and with one fixture remaining until the start of the season for the Tykes, his future may be in Yorkshire.

Now after knuckling down and focusing on his game as he enters the final year of his contract with Barnsley, Thomas has stated game time is the most important factor this season.

Asked by the Barnsley Chronicle’s football reporter Doug O’Kane about where he sees himself playing this season, the forwarded responded: “I guess I am not too sure. “It’s a massive season for me after not playing much the last two seasons.

“I just want to play week in, week out. “Hopefully that’s at Barnsley but, if not, I will look elsewhere.

“I have been at Barnsley a while but I don’t feel like I’ve got started. “My number one goal is to play at Barnsley and I would love that to happen.”

Back in April, Thomas was one of the first players that Joey Barton admitted he would like to keep beyond his loan spell.

Rovers have already persuaded centre-back James Connolly to return, joining on for a six-figure fee from Cardiff City.

There is a demand for between five to seven new players from now until the start of September, despite four new arrivals already.

Thomas’ return to Barnsley, as well as Elliot Anderson’s loan spell expiring and Sam Nicholson’s departure to Colorado Rapids has left Rovers light up front.

John Marquis has been brought in to lead the line that has seen Aaron Collins pushed out to the left flank with Harry Anderson operating the other side.

Harvey Saunders who endured a difficult campaign last year after injury has also been pushing for a place in the side and has scored four goals in as many games in pre-season.

Rovers were said to have had a strong interest in reuniting with Thomas but he along with many other signings are not imminent.

Asked on Tuesday where the club were with transfers, Barton said: “Things are progressing and moving slowly in the background, but I’m calmer than I normally would be and that’s probably because I’ve got a promotion on my CV.

"But this time last year I’d have been clucking and laying eggs eight or nine days out from the season with work to do, but this group this year is totally different. It’s more settled.

"We just need to show a bit of patience in the marketplace to make sure we add real quality to our group because we’ve got a good foundation to build off, but I still think I’m five, six, or seven away from where I want to be, but again that’s if we get everything dropping in because you can make five subs next year.”